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It seems like there should be something of grand importance which I can write here – after all, here I am, still alive. I’ve clearly been given this gift, and I have yet to discover what to do with it.

A long time ago…maybe seven years or so, my best friend got very very upset about something, came over to my house at about 11 p.m., and we decided to take off and drive to Lake Tahoe. Now, my hometown is only about an hour and a half away, counting the winding up into the Sierra Nevada, but it was dark and we were half crazed on adrenaline and had no idea what we were doing – we just knew we had to get out of town, and drive. I remember there was a song playing on the radio at one point, that pop song “My Own Worst Enemy,” you know, the one that goes “can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk/I didn’t mean to call you that…” I remember we sang along and applied it to our own relationship because everyone said we shared a brain; were two halves of a same person.

We stopped at some all night diner on the Nevada side and shared a slice of apple pie with ice cream, and then, not knowing what else to do we decided to drive back. It must have been somewhere around three or four in the morning when our tire exploded. We were driving 75 or 80 miles an hour, coming down out of the mountains right where 50 actually begins to look like a freeway. We came around a corner and there was a cliff overlooking…hell, it must have been Shingle Springs, California… We should have been terrified. We should have gone right over the cliff…but somehow we were able to pull the car over to the side of the road like it was nothing. Then we decided, as only teenaged girls can do, that we wanted to park on the other side of the highway, so we started the car up again and drove back to the other side. It was four by then. We walked half a mile in the dark to the nearest Shell Station and made friends with some guys who changed our tire so that we could drive back home.

I don’t think it was until we were back in the car that we came to this realization…we were both very involved in our church at that point, we both had ideas about what was expected of us…but I think most importantly, we had a real sense of some sort of greater purpose. As we drove back down the mountain, and looked out over that cliff…we both realized that there was absolutely no reason for us to be alive. That it was only some sort of divine providence that had kept us alive. We were imbued with a sense of something bigger than ourselves. There was something we were supposed to do with our lives. There was a reason we were left alive. We weren’t finished.

I spend a lot of time thinking about that night, now that she’s been dead for over four years. I think about the things that she did after that night, about what she brought to the people around her. I think of what I’ve done…I wonder if the thing God kept me alive for has already passed me by. I wonder if I did whatever I was supposed to do; or talked to whomever I was supposed to talk to. I wonder if she was the reason we stayed alive, and the next blown tire…the next school shooting, the next whatever…

I suppose each of us has a purpose every day, don’t we, though. Every one of us has a new chance to do or say something that makes a difference, that changes things for the better. That helps people. It doesn’t mind if we see providence in the big things…it’s the fact that we wake up every morning that means today is the day. Today is the day to do something about life. Today is the day to live.

I love you all so much, you’ll never know.

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Sometimes there are people that you don’t like in real life because they hurt you or something, and you have been hurt a long time, and you have some residual anger, or whatever. And you wish, sort of, that like, a truck would fall on their head, or an anvil. Or they would run into a painting of a tunnel on a wall, thinking there really was a tunnel there, but it would just be rock and they would smash their faces in and lots of blood would get on their new shirt that they had to buy at Wal-Mart because their life is so pathetic and sad because they were mean to you and so God made them have to shop at Wal-Mart.

But then something really bad happens to them in real life, or potentially bad, and you are all like “If something happened to this person I would cry.” And you would cry in real life, even though before you were imagining all of the things happening to them like God watching them on a computer screen with his finger just above a key on the keyboard labeled “SMITE.”

Just like that.

That is a strange thing about life, I think.

Currently Reading

Eve Ensler, Insecure At Last

Brettell and Sargent, eds. Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Quoth the Raven:

"Girls aren't beautiful, they're pretty. Beautiful is too heavy a word to assign to a girl. Women are beautiful because their faces show that they know, that they have lost something and picked up something else."

-Henry Rollins
December 2017
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