I think my favorite time of day in the summer is the sticky sweet middle of a hot afternoon. It was one of those afternoons when I ordered a Lyft in downtown Nashville. The driver rolled up and said, “No, no don’t sit in the back. Come on up to the front seat.” Usually I’d respond with something like, “Thanks, but I’ll just sit back here,” but his kind eyes beckoned me to take the seat beside him. This man had a story to tell. We all do, but we’re not all storytellers. Some of us keep ours to ourselves, or maybe just share with those we love. Others are called to share theirs with the rest of the world. I think storytellers recognize other storytellers before they ever even open their mouths, before they ever pick up a pen. Sure enough, as soon as I closed the door he began recounting the odyssey of his life. His struggle with drug abuse. The failure of his first marriage. The complete and total loss of himself.
And then, the Revival.
Now, he was a pastor at a local church. Assistant pastor actually—his wife led the congregation. He told me about her journey to hell and back with her abusive first marriage. She’d even written a book. Honestly, I’m not positive why I’m writing this entry. All I know is I think about this encounter often. I think about the peaceful expression that came over him when he told me about meeting his current wife. I think about how I could see the pride practically bursting out of his chest when he told me about her book and her work for their community. The way he smiled and laughed when he described this woman who had awakened his entire heart. I told him I hoped to be as lucky as them both one day. He said, “If you want a good man, pray for him.” Simple advice, but not my style. By this point in 2017, I’d embarked on this current spiritual path, but I was still weary about “praying” and what that meant or looked like to me.
I’ll hand it to him though. There was something about the way he said it. I believed him. Granted, ever since I began “praying” for things I’ve been met with what feels like multiple ego deaths and devastating revelation after revelation. In love, I especially seem to have attracted a string of messy lovers with no shortage of lessons to be taught between us. They appear suddenly and fade out just as quickly. Kind of like fireflies. Sure you could catch them, try to keep them. But that’s not where they belong. It feels so much better to let the experience be what it is. Sitting out in the field enveloped in the glow of dusk, the lights of the fireflies blinking in and out of view, until one lands on your arm. It tickles. It makes you laugh. You’ve been chosen. It’s gone as quickly as it came, but it brings a smile to your face nonetheless.
So yes, I’ve had a lot of fireflies. Each one with a different light to share. Exposing my darkest parts, deepest wounds, awakening me to the medicine I need to successfully integrate those pieces of me. The medicine has come in many forms–boundaries, meditation, unconditional love, compassion, detachment, self-worth, and so much more. Each one of them a step closer to a prayer answered.
To be honest, I’m not sure how invested I am with that specific prayer being answered anymore. The further I walk, the more expansive love becomes. These structures we’ve placed upon it just don’t seem to fit as well anymore for me, or any human I know. It’s not about the external, it’s internal. But that’s the point of the journey right? It starts with self. My love for myself. My willingness to face myself. My willingness to heal myself. My ability to forgive myself. So even still, I pray–for many people and many things–and “I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for.” (Thanks for that, Practical Magic). I know it all leads me not closer to meeting another, but to meeting myself. And when I do pray for love, I don’t pray for love to come into my life. I am already surrounded by it. I was born of it and it lives within me. So I pray for my soulmates to come into themselves, to rise into their highest, to have compassion for their lowest, to find their freedom, their mission, their calling, and to sprint toward it. Or walk. Whatever timing their journey calls for. So when we cross paths in this lifetime, we will, as ever-evolving beings.
Anyway, life is good. And frustrating. And surprising. And painful. And inspiring. And confusing. And satisfying. You don’t need me to tell you that. I think my favorite part about this journey is realizing how NOT unique my experience is. I am not separate from you. I feel more full, more myself than I have possibly ever. I have more offerings to give than words. I am planting the seeds mindfully. I’m here for any of you. If you want to talk of alchemy, love, loss, prayer, grief, healing, anything. Or if you just want someone with you in the silence. This is all to say–allow others the gift of illuminating what you cannot see. Trust it. Trust yourself.
And so it is.