I am not sure I have ever been so happy to see a human as I am when I see Claire waving frantically from the curbside of the airport in Richmond. My happiness morphs into full-on joy when I realize she has Hope tucked into the backseat – my personal welcome home wagon.
My joy has clearly been eclipsed by Hope’s elation – that little girl’s tail flailing her lower half hard enough that I fear she may end up back at the emergency vet – this time for whiplash.
I am home.
* * *
Home is a funny thing, isn’t it? Even though I’ve never lived somewhere I have particularly loved, I have struggled with homesickness my entire life. A sibling of my ever-present anxiety, I am fairly sure my homesickness comes more from anxiousness over the change in routine than from actually missing anything that I have left behind. Sure – I have missed specific people while traveling. But the entire situation of my life that one would generally refer to as “home”? No.
* * *
I’m used to making the solo trek to and from the airport. That’s what tends to happen when you outgrow your parents schlepping you around but find yourself chronically without a partner. So to see Claire sitting there, waiting just for me, it was a significant shift for me. And to see sweet little Hope so happy to have me back – well that was new too.
I read somewhere recently that old adage we hear all the time – that every situation has a silver lining if you can stop to look for it. Just a very small piece of mine came to pick me up at the airport.
Just a small piece of the home I finally found.
* * *
There is a saying going around Instagram lately – “your growth is not an abandonment of others”. Its hard to believe that sometimes when it feels like in each period of growth I have simultaneously sees my relationships change so significantly. Sometimes the change is the choice of others, and sometimes it’s a choice I need to make to keep myself moving in the direction I know I need to head. Regardless of where the change comes from, its neither fun or easy. Endings never are.
When I got sober, I was genuinely concerned about who would want to spend time with me. It’s a renegade move – to give up drinking in a world that tends to revolve around it. Cancer coming back into my world brought another set of shifts - many that weren’t my choice - and I knew when I decided to forgo additional chemotherapy that I was bringing on even more. I mean, telling the majority of very experienced doctors that they are wrong and going down the road of alternative healing methods is another renegade maneuver. One that makes even more people squirm than sobriety does.
But its so right that there is no turning back. And I had kind of made peace with the necessary isolation that I assumed would follow.
So you’ll imagine my surprise when I found myself driving home from yoga last night filled with more love and joy than I have ever felt in my life.
God and His silvery linings.
* * *
People say after something like what 2016 has been for me you get a second chance. Some people say everything from that point forward is a bonus. Or borrowed time. Gravy.
Maybe it’s the massive bullet I dodged with ovarian cancer and its miniscule cure rate. Maybe it’s the fact that this is my second time at the cancer rodeo. Whatever the reason, none of those words work for me.
What do I think this time I have now is?
Every breath I breathe. Every hug. Every cup of tea, every book, every long walk, every sunset. God has given me this gift of experiencing what a fundamentally magical thing we have happening here on earth.
And as a result – I only have room for the magical to co-exist with me. There is room for the negative. For bad energy.
Magical people. Magical places. Maybe it’s an unknown side effect, but I am pretty sure trees are dappled in rainbows and faeries are rearranging my prayer flags in the falling sunlight.
But beyond the 1980s cartoon shades I seem to be wearing, I am amazed every day by the magic of so many things that have always been there. Of my law firm and the people in it. Of my neighborhood and my city. There is magic in my yoga community and magic in my guitar. Its everywhere.
It always was.
* * *
That’s the beautiful thing here. That’s what I discovered. I always did have a home. But I was so busy looking outside – elsewhere – that I couldn’t even see it.
I couldn’t see the magical life that God created for me. I don’t need another person to create it. I don’t need more money or a nicer car. All I need is God and my heart and a willingness to experience the magic of each and every day.
And its magic.