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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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[He is risen indeed!]

Today, I am missing my family, particularly my dad. My mom, my insane sister and brother in law. My brother, my grandparents. Today I am missing my great-grandmother’s pizzelles and missing my great-grandmother even more. There’s been no more Easter bread since she died. Today I am missing California, and almost missing my old church. Today I am missing sitting on that stage with my flute in my hands, and today I am missing Sarah, Megan, Sarah, Sarah, Bethany, Kathleen, Alan, Jeremy, Wem and Ro and BJ…and all of the others. Today I am missing walking up to people and saying “He is Risen!” and having them say “He is risen, Indeed!” in response. Today I am missing my dad’s hugs, my mom’s cuddles, my sister’s insanity. It’s Easter outside, and I feel it in my heart – I know the symbolism and I know the remembrance are both so incredibly important, and I have them. But there’s a little bit of Good Friday loss inside of me as well.

If you’re with the people you love today, no matter what religion you are, hold them close. It might noy always be so, and you never want to miss the opportunity while you have it.

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
October 2017
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