Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: May 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Something Dandy

When someone says "today I went on a bike ride, stopped to pick some daisies, and brought them back to cheer up my living space," typically the hearer pictures something whimsical and cheerful. The sun was probably shining. The person was probably in some dapper outfit and tidy brown shoes, in a wide, open field. The bike ride was lovely. The daisies tall and strong, and ready to adorn a well-set table in a mason jar.

However, today was a simple example of how often that's not how things are. I found these daisies after a sweaty day, a little comment that sent me over, and a frustrated bike ride in flip-flops and a bad hair day.

I had slipped away on my Schwinn because a family member made that one comment that put a little dent in my happy mood. I took out my frustration on my bike pedals. I resented the heavy air, I resented that I had encountered another issue with that person, I resented that my flip-flops kept slipping off my pedals, I resented the last four months, and the hills my wheels had to climb. I turned down a gravelly, grassy road that I hadn't been down in a while, letting my mind and emotions cool down as my body heated up.

I reached the end of the road and, somehow, after I turned around, the trip back seemed a bit prettier. I hadn't noticed the daisies along my route, but I stopped. And I picked them as furiously as I could.

I rode a little while longer, wondering what I was going to do with my pathetic handful of floppy little daisies. But I brought them back, to the same place I had that little spat, and gave them a home inside two mini Fanta cans I had filled with water.

Sometimes that's how it goes. Sometimes you don't find daisies along your perfect journey. Sometimes you find them while your grumbling against your family, furiously pedaling to get away from everything; cursing the shoes you wore and the fact that your Spotify lost service. Those days can still have something dandy in them.

What are you gonna do with that "something dandy?" Are you going to ignore it? Keep it? Or share it with the person you're most frustrated with? let it fix what caused your day to "go south" in the first place?

Don't forget to see those little pieces of "something dandy." Because they're always there. Like the little rainbows that hit the wall when the sunlight hits your watch, they come up out of nowhere. Unexpected. And so small that you could always miss them.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Yet Without a Wedding Dress

As I write this, I'm on my way to Wyoming. I'm in a wedding this weekend. When I told my co-worker where I was going, he said, "Again? What is it with you and weddings lately?" Seeing that I was the MOH for one this January, my cousin got married last weekend, I'm MOH in another this weekend, and now I'll be a bridesmaid again this June, YES, it does seem like all I do is attend/participate in weddings. But, hey, 'tis the season! That's what spring is for, isn't it? Falling in love, getting hitched, all that yucky, sappy stuff...

People also ask when I'm planning on getting married. (Let me just say, though, I don't see how a girl can "plan on getting married." What, am I the one proposing? Are they just waiting for me to choose one of the endless suitors lined up (you know, the non-existent, twenty-some guys who just think I'm the bee's knees) and get married tomorrow? C'mon; let's be real.)
But it has left me to some thinking. Mama got married at 19, and for the longest time, I thought I would, too. That was "the age" to be married at, and if I wasn't married by then... well, that just wouldn't happen. It seemed to be the trend once two of my friends got married at 19 as well, and another at 18.

And yet, here I am. Freshly 20, and not even engaged. Am I disappointed? Not really. Because as I watched Sara say "I do" a couple of years ago, and then Bethany this January, and I am now headed to Wyoming to stand next to Brie as she gets hitched, there was and is this peace of, "Yes, this is perfect...for them." So many well-meaning people pat me on the arm and say, "Don't worry, sweetie, your time will come," as if seeing my friends getting married would suddenly make unmarried life absolutely unbearable. But instead I have grown even more confident! I wanna look at them like, "Are you crazy?? This is my life, and it is GREAT, thanks!"

Married life is perfect for these wonderful girls, and I couldn't be happier for them. But I know that I'm just not there yet.
And even though I have been, and am being, pursued in a relationship, doesn't mean that I'm dying for a ring on my finger. I don't have to fight for this contentment, either. Because I know the Author of Adventure. I know the Creator of Romance. So whether I am to be married in 6 months or 6 years, I know my life will be nothing short of full, and full of life.

Lots of people talk about surrender. Most of the time, I find, it's in the context of discontentment/contentment, or fear, or anxiety and the need for control. They say, "Just submit your life to the Lord. It may not be easy, and He'll take you through many trials. But it just refines you further." Yes and amen! But I think sometimes singles and unmarried folks don't realize that marriage is the greatest trial and the greatest refining process some of us will ever encounter. Marriage is hard.

So, yes. Walk in surrender. Walk in submission to Him, because He won't lead you astray. But I know for me, I am totally okay with not going through the refining fires of marriage until I'm sure He's leading me there, because it is not a short or easy journey.

All that said, own your life. Rock the married-ness/singleness/un-married-ness of your life, and take pride that it's yours.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Horizons, Strangers, and Window Seats

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a window seat. Which is obviously the best place to be on a plane. (Unless you’re the type who always needs the restroom, and if that’s the case, then the window seat is not the place for you. Save our feet, and the awkwardness of you almost-sitting in our laps and having to fold up our tables every time you need to go, and just sit on the end.)

Airplanes, airports, traveling. Wonderful and terrifying things.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I think about the walking stories that are passing me to make it to their next flight or their next destination. So many people, from every where! Hardly is there another place where you will find so much diversity. But it’s also a terrifying and heartbreaking thing for me. I want to know them all, to hear their stories. I want to hear about the grandchildren they’re going to visit in Florida, or the concert they just saw in Maryland, or their trip to meet the new in-laws. 
But that’s when my American-ized self comes in. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have “Don’t talk to strangers” hammered in my head, and I had less of a personal bubble. But, here I am; just an American girl who sometimes has the guts to talk to strangers.

My last flight took a long time to come in. I waited and waited, at the bare, freezing Gate D4 in Atlanta, as I flicked through Twitter, texted my mother, walked to the coffee bar. And then I watched the people out of the window, as they prepared for the next flight. The bulky men in bright orange or yellow vests, hollering to each other from across the pavement. Expertly backing up big four-wheeler-type vehicles with luggage trailers on the back. I wonder, how’d they get that job? What are their families like? To they have Georgian accents? 

The little family to my right and a few isles back had their two-year-old on a leash as we waited. Now she’s playing some sort of iPad really loudly, with a character who talks in a high squeaky voice. I wonder why we feel the need to fill child/toddler games with characters who speak in high, squeaky voices? I’m sure there’s a more painless way to entertain them. 
Or maybe just get the kid some headphones.

I have found myself particularly uninspired lately. Or maybe I should say, still. But I like being above the clouds like this. I like looking at the horizon, where the clouds are so hazy and soft that you can’t see exactly where the sky ends and the clouds begin. 

Also, it’s nice to be away from cell phones and wifi for a couple of hours. No pressure to keep checking my phone, or missing appointments or whatnot. It’s just me, and the books I brought. I should do this more often.
Minus the plane.
That’d be way too expensive.