Ten years ago I saw a spectacular movie about Greece, a sun drenched ancient paradise telling stories of the past in a simple palate. I could feel myself vacationing there, breathing the air, writing the words that atmosphere inspires when it is changed and unpredictable. The stone walls, white villages, blue water, all sunk deep into my wish list of places I wanted to experience. I stopped thinking about visiting Greece about a year ago, and started making plans to live there. Not forever. Just 55 days. Or maybe eleven months. Long enough to feel the equality of salt in my veins and the ocean water.
But for now, I am right here.
Here where little hands “fingerprint” a new cube of butter, just because. Here where I am helping with science fair homework, and watching her young mind put together an experiment alongside frustration. Here, mediating teenage kid arguments and praying they one day get along. Here, dancing to music with my girls, pretending we are rock-stars. Here, holding my sick little one when she has a fever, and won’t let go of my hand. Here, teaching my son to drive, and how to be a gentleman. Here, taking care to create a home with baking, laughing, late movies, and lots of laundry folding. Here, focusing on my health, faith, career, friends, and family. Here, watching the sun rise each morning, and set each night; a sky full of stars when the moon is dark, a path lunar lit when the moon is full. I’m here. Right where I should be.
One day I will be right there. Eating a ridiculously delicious galaktoboureko at Kosmikon & Galifianakis, looking out at the rhythm of the waves….. chatting with friends old and new. So inspired and alive. And, I will reflect on the days of right here. I will look into the past and nod, grateful that I did all that I could, was all that I needed to be, swam as fast as I dared, hiked as high as the earth let me, shouted my dreams till they echoed, whispered truths as quiet as a touch, and loved as deep as the ocean could sink my brimming heart.
I was, right here.
Every dirt trail I walk I look for the shape that celebrates life, a heart. No just any heart, but one made of stone. I have found them high in the Uinta’s, low in the rivers, on the paths I run, and the paths that run me. They are tokens created by time and trial, yet become a marker of love. I see them everywhere, my heart rocks.
Love is felt in acute layers when you are in the middle of trial. Its true. Favored is the person experiencing the pressure of a trial. They feel love: love of service, love of understanding, love of being. And out of that love comes gratitude for friendship, for kindness, for blessings. Rocks are formed with gradual pressure, time, and melting of elements. Love is formed the same way.
On Wednesday I had one of those days, nothing went right, and I felt my skills as a mother, co-worker, friend, …all of the roles I love to play…were failing. My confidence was shot. My energy, gone. I attended a funeral mid-day for my dear Great Aunt, then afterward when my sisters and mom asked how I was doing I gave them an honest play-by-play of my morning and the night before. And, because the last 24-hours had not gone well, the reality was laced in, well, reality. The pressure of trials of daily life. When I was done with my 7-minute rant, of course, they all hugged me.
That is reward of trial. Love is the element that warms the cold rock, that blends with the motion of life, giving us purpose. Trials don’t last forever, and even rocks change over time, but love. Love. Love of this kind is unchanged, it is kept in your own heart as a reminder of those that walked with you when you needed them most.