This post was originally shared on March 8, 2015.
While this sounds like a plea to Chris Hemsworth, who is currently less than a mile away from my apartment, I will assure you that this post holds a place in my heart even dearer than the charming Aussie man/beast Thor.
As a person who battles with bits of unwelcome anxiety when faced with "the 5-year plan" or even "the 6-month plan", I have always struggled being in the moment. With an active childhood mind, constantly running from one activity to the next and splitting my brain into pieces to conquer any and everything, I found comfort in procrastination and reveled in the chaos I self-constructed around me. Even as an adult, I'll create more of a mess of my apartment attempting to, to use a loose term, "clean", and then find several projects to attempt before the actual cleaning happens. It's as if I need to start a fire just to make sure I know how to put it out. I'm even anxious thinking about it, how about you? I know my parents will read this and calmly agree, as over the course of my life, we've lost count on the rational "get your shit together" conversations, each always ending in an plausible action plan and rational steps to move forward and taking each moment by moment until the next kindling sparks.
Nowadays, with children being diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Hyperactive-Gluten-Valium-Required-Playdates-with-iPads-and-no-friends-going-balls-crazy-because-they've-never-heard-no, I think to myself, well yeah, of course our minds can't focus. We have reprogrammed ourselves to jump from one thing to the next and never actually finish one project from start to finish without checking how many "likes" we've gotten on Instagram and whether Graham has actually ever opened that SnapChat I sent that was super witty and yet intriguing in the moment but now makes absolutely no sense....
Even now, I have my iPad open to Pinterest, my iPhone playing Spotify, open to Facebook and I'm typing on a laptop. As I try to focus on a clear message, my mind refocuses on my schedule for the week, bills I have to pay, pictures I have to like, errands I have to run and the life I have to live, instead of just sitting down and writing. My time quickly passes, filled with moments spent worrying about things I either a) have no control over OR b) don't even really enjoy.
Not to be morbid, but I'm slightly worried that at my funeral, about 75 years down the line (longevity runs in my family...although they didn't enjoy hooch as much I do), the person who eulogizes me, probably my eldest son, as my husband will either be in the coffin dead next to me, or so distraught he will be in no shape to bring the humor required or requested for in my last will and testament, will only have a series of text messages, blog posts or Facebook status updates that represent who I was as a person. I'm terrified that our generation will kill all things personable and instead of actually attending funerals for our dear friends, the only proof we care will be some emoji reel shown on our tomb.
We, as a generation, have become so focused on the steps ahead and what's happening in "THE" cloud, that being in the moment, taking a breath, smelling the roses, looking up at the real clouds, has become completely foreign. We are so set on viewing the photo with a filter and a hashtag that we forget how to use our eyes to see the world we've made, our ears to hear the magic sounds of life around us, our lips to speak our minds, to taste the cultures of the world, our nose to smell the salt coming off the ocean and our hands to reach out to others and express ourselves. Instead, we sit and fret about moments in our lives that we can't control. We spend hours dreaming of what might happen, what could happen, instead of enjoying the anticipation, the moment, and how quickly they pass.
This evening, as the sun was setting on the reflections of the Manhattan skyline, I sat in a candle-lit church with several others who gathered to slowly embrace the moonlight. A time of darkness and reflection to help prepare our minds, bodies and spirits for the night, a time of unsure questioning, in anticipation of the morning rise the next day. I've always been intrigued by nighttime, spending hours watching the moon slowly ascend above the ocean while the stars began to twinkle above our summer shore house. A mysterious time of night when words escape the mind in wondrous quiet, reveling in the vast awe-some world. In my years of life, I've met folks who try and fill this quiet space, talk through the darkness to reassure themselves that they're not alone...most of my life, I talked through the beauty. Unsure if the darkness would end, scared of the one day it would consume the life I knew, not able to trust that the sun would rise again, not able to believe that this darkness was as much a blessing as the moment the sun crept over the horizon.
While the drone lingered through the open pews, echoing as a breath of hope, light, as the sun set, I opened my mouth and let the words of faith fill the church. Singing words I've heard since birth, words of unwavering love and sacrifice, using darkness and light to propel us into the unknown with heads held in strength. Without thinking of proper support, whether the notes were perfect, the phrases held together, I sang to my saving grace. I was fully in the moment and for the first time in years, I felt like not only was I a musician, I was a woman, a soldier, a mission, a child of God, with her eyes set on the darkness, prepared to move forward in any way toward the light, toward love, toward life.
Unfortunately, you probably wont see me marching down the street in a "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirt, mostly because I don't think Spencer's Gift Store still sells them. My faith is mine and mine alone. It may not be the same as my parents, friends, family or colleagues, or even the church I attend, but I've learned that that's not what makes it important. It's knowing that when I look up into the clouds, take a moment to breathe, or even just a step ahead, I'm doing it because I choose to, because I have hope for the light after the darkness, that even in the moments when the sun just doesn't seem to want to shine, I know that I am not alone in the dark. That even in the darkest of times, a moment is just a moment, live it and move on, and with a song in my heart and joy in my soul, those moments of darkness make the sun rise glow even brighter.
"I sing because I'm happy. I sing because I'm free."