Okay folks. Buckle up because this one's a doosy.
Naturally I have tons to say, because I finally got to come home. This first trip home for the holidays is typically a time of reflection, when you decide what it is that you've learned and how you've grown as a person, yadda yadda. Well, the life lessons started on the flight home.
It was a great time to fly. The inversion had started, so when we took off, it was like fighting through a misty haze until finally, the sun shone through and there was nothing but blue skies all around and a fluffy blanket of white below you to cut you off from the world and help you forget that anything but the sky existed for a little while. And with that view, I got to watch the sunset. It was magical. As the sun was setting, The blanket pulled away a little, and I could see everything below. I thought to myself, "Down there somewhere, there's a girl dreaming of flying."
Then there was a shudder. The whole plane began to shake.The lights went low and the seat belt alerts flashed on. The voice of the flight attendant come on the speaker, but I couldn't actually make out what was being said over all the sound of babies crying and the frantic babble of all the other passengers. I wanted to panic, but a video that we had watched in church came immediately to mind.
"I should be at peace. Am I ready to meet my maker? Is my mission complete?"
Flashback a few years. Diana is riding in the car with a friend. They joke about some idiot who had almost hit them recklessly. Diana say's, "Oh well. If we die then we die. I'm ready to go whenever."
Friend responds, "Really? There's nothing else you want to do with your life? You feel like you've already made all the difference you can?"
His words didn't hit me like they should have. They didn't mean much until this moment, in turbulence on my long- awaited trip home. Nothing like a "near death" experience to make your life flash before your eyes. Or, for that matter, the lack thereof that makes you want to live one. But what's my mission? What's my purpose?
Ironically enough, I'd had a feeling for weeks before like something terrible was going to happen. Hit by a car, die in my sleep - I couldn't be sure. But it DID scare me, because I didn't feel ready to go. So I told Kiki and Linda about it, hoping that the irony of something bad actually happening would be far too great for anything to actually HAPPEN. It may be stupid, but that promise of "it would be too great a coincidence" is what ended up comforting me while I was panicking. Obviously everything ended up sorting out and we landed safely at O'hare. But I got home with a new perspective on my life, and the things I needed to change about it.
Why wasn't I ready?
A few months ago, I would have been, absolutely. I went through something hard in October, like I do every year. Except this time, for the first time, I was actually alone when I felt alone. I mean sure, I had great friends around that did so much for me, but for the first time, the family that I'd always taken for granted wasn't there. The loyal best friends that tend to fade to the background when not needed, were now nowhere to be found. I was thousands of miles from home. So I made good habits into hobbies. I took up journal keeping, became more consistent in scripture study and prayer. I know this all sounds geeky and a little self righteous. But I'm not trying to talk myself up - it was short lived, believe me.
One day, I was talking to a friend from home. Since I had been in a relationship that I put all of my time and basically everything else into, I wasn't exactly keeping up with hometown news. As a result, there was quite a bit of news that came as a shock to me. I was hurt, to say the least. It was something I felt I should have expected, yet I still felt wronged not only that it was happening, but that no one had even bothered to tell me about it. Of course they hadn't. They knew I would be upset. But at the same time, I felt like a certain person was making this happen just to upset me. I thought this had been a motive all along.
Maybe it's stupid to blog about this, but I'm going to tell this story as a final vent, to prove (mostly to myself) that I'm finally getting over this.
Once upon a time, there were two friends. Basically best friends. They were very similar, in their personality, in their beliefs, in their desires. Probably more alike than they ever wanted to think. Well, this caused these friends some problems, because they always seemed to want the same things. But they weren't the kinds of things that could be shared. Diana was always jealous of her friend. She seemed to be better at everything. She was widely admired for her musical abilities and charm. She was beautiful and talented, and it got her into prestigious groups and circles of friends. Then one day, after one of her sucky October episodes, Diana met a boy, who she thought would change things. She fell in love with him. But it's important to know that Diana's friend already knew that boy, and already had feelings for him. Diana likes to forget that part of the story, justifying it with the fact that her friend was in a relationship with someone else at the time. Anyway, to cut out the details, the boy picked the other friend in the end. And after the October incident that had originally made Diana feel worthless, this new wound broke her. And she held on to it for way too long. She and her friend "sorted things out," but they never really sorted things out, because every time the friend did something Diana did, or wanted something Diana wanted, Diana thought that she wanted it just to hurt her. And there were so many small, simple, petty things. There were a couple things Diana should have realized:
1. They had always wanted the same things. This fact that was now making Diana hate her friend is the thing that most friendships feed off of. She wanted to deny them, but should have embraced their common interests and similarities.
2. This friend seemed to be trying to steal Diana's life. But perhaps this friend wasn't trying to spite Diana. Perhaps she too had been harboring hard feelings all this time. And maybe she just thought that she actually deserved all those things that belonged to Diana, because the friend was the better person. And maybe she was right.
Anyway, these friends talked things out over and over again. And they put up a guise of friendship for a while, but they both knew that they had certain feelings hidden under the surface that would prevent a genuine friendship from ever really happening. So Diana went away to college. And she thought she would finally be free from this friend. But hate isn't something one escapes from. Hate has to be killed.
When I found out the news from home, all of the progress I made was completely shot. That's why I'm not ready to go.
I've often heard that the most important commandment is the one that you're having the most trouble with in your life at this moment. Well, if that's true, then love and forgiveness are the most important commandments in the world.
I've tried. I really have, for so long. I never wanted to call it hate, until I realized how unshakable it was - it was eating at me, and no matter what I tried to do, when I saw her I felt terrible. And it wouldn't let me be free.
I don't know when exactly it happened or what it was that made me finally let go of it. I think it might have been a stronger love for a close friend of mine who would have ended up in a compromising position. I couldn't do that to him. So I started praying for the ability to finally leave behind all my hostility. As I did, little things came to my attention. For example, the two key realizations I included in the story above. But also the realization that she also feels wronged by me.
"I'm just gonna let it go. She's not in a happy place in her life right now, she needs it."
"That's funny, because that's exactly what she said about you. I'm like, how would you know? When do you talk to her?"
But then again how would I know that she's unhappy?
It's because I am.
We have always been so alike. I can look at her life and see where she's at and look in her eyes and see that she wants something more. And she can do the same with me. I can put myself in her shoes and ask myself, "Would I be happy here?" And she can do the same with me. I can't believe I'm saying this, but maybe she knows me better than anyone. I don't know what it is that I even need. But maybe, neither does she.
So timeline is an interesting contraption. As I was wading through ancient facebook posts, I came across a note I was tagged in. All about friendships, and apologies. I realized, she had tried so hard to apologize to me. But I was so caught up looking at my life through hate-colored glasses that I completely missed it. So here's my response, over three years later.
I know it's late, and that you may never see this, but maybe it's better that way. We've talked about everything. I've used all the words I know to try and sort things out. But maybe what we need is to just not say anything. Because this time, I mean it. All my words are jaded by now, to the point where they don't mean much of anything. The silence of simply letting go might be the most I can do.
Maybe this is what I needed.
I want to share my all-time favorite Christmas song with everybody. I've always been able to identify with this song so much, but especially this year, with coming home and with my trials and triumphs.
Merry Christmas everyone. And let's remember the important stuff.
I love you all. Yup. Every single one of ya :)