Friday I was sitting out in the sun with my neighbor, Vivian, waiting for an old friend to arrive. Vivian's life reminds me exactly of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. When I say that, Vivian always replies "Under the Provo Sun now!" Which is the only time in the history of the universe that Provo, Utah has been compared to Tuscany, Italy. She lives by a different energy than the rest of us in the valley, an honest energy, and it awakens me. Sometimes we lay on her bed late at night and talk under the dim glow of her lamp. And the later it gets, the sillier, as she turns my dating life into a pop campfire song.
This sunny afternoon, Vivian tells me that her time here in Provo has come to a close, and she's ready to move back to the Midwest. So I say a little goodbye.
My friend arrives in that moment, so we all say a little hello. Then my friend and I leave to go for a hike to my favorite viewpoint on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. I haven't seen this friend in over two years, so we have much to catch up on. We mostly talk through his recently ended engagement. And I share a lot about my trip to the Philippines.
Then we locate a geocache in our area and march off to find it. We climb all over these big rocks, and I find it in 4 seconds, to his unbelief. There is a little pebble inside that we debate if maybe it is a human tooth. We decide it isn't, just to feel better, and march off to climb on some rusty old, colossally huge tractors that have just been left here for some reason. Not sure how you forget about one of those, but okay.
Then we read an old movie review about some guy with an ugly nose who wrote love letters to a beautiful woman, which came to my friend's mind after I told him about the one time Leslie's ex-boyfriend created an online dating profile for me, with an elaborate "about me" section saying I had things like, "bedroom eyes, and legs that touched the floor, and the perfect mix of west coast flavor," whatever all that means. And when I ignored this profile completely, because I was too obsessed with Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights to care about a real man, this guy logged back in and wrote a love poem to his top selected suitors on my behalf. I told him that he better confess that the person behind my profile is actually a dude, and then he better delete my profile before I get murdered.
Anyway, then my friend and I stop to watch the most brilliant glowing sunset - stripes of purple, pink, and orange - and he asks, "What do you think has changed most about your personality since we last saw each other?"
I stumble out loud for an answer. Then I come to the perfect reply. I'm happy.
I'm far happier from then. I was tumbling through a lot of ashes at that point. But I love to see that the smoke has cleared, and I'm happy. Rejoicing for all that I am today. To let go and let live. To let emotions and time and sometimes people just be visitors. To let be. To let happen. To just feel joy.
Similar to the conclusions of Eckhart Tolle, after living on a park bench for two years. Glad I didn't take that route for my path of discovery. But I do love the idea of being fully present and feeling gratitude in the moment. Mostly I'm fascinated with how strangely calm Tolle is in those sweater vests. Not that sweater vests should make you all riled up. He's just always in them and always really relaxed.
Anyway, life never makes as much sense as it does from a literal overlooking viewpoint. And from a visionary viewpoint when you can clearly see all the hellos and goodbyes. The hellos and goodbyes of friendships. Of romantic relationships. Of the beauties and horrors of life. Even the hellos and goodbyes of your own self.
There is nothing more peace-keeping then stepping out of the then and accepting the now. Welcoming lots of hellos.
Upward and onward,
“You shall love your crooked neighbour, with your crooked heart.”
— W.H. Auden
Second Image Source