Holy Week began last Sunday. The little girl in me remembers Catholic Palm Sunday masses filled with excitement and hope. The reminder that something big was coming. There were palms that we folded into crosses as we listened to the messages of our beloved sweet Jesus triumphantly riding into Jerusalem.
On Monday, Notre Dame caught fire. Flames raged in an inferno beneath the roof of the world’s medieval Catholic cathedral. This week I read an article that offered the idea that maybe Norte Dame burning is our modern day burning bush. That struck me deep in a place in my soul that I haven’t been in a while.
Was God trying to point a secular world back to Him?
Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Holy Monday that part of us is burning. You’re right, friend, part of us is burning. The parts of our souls that yearn for our Savior burn in ways that sometimes we can’t understand. We yearn for something deep. We feel it in the unrest and anxiousness of our souls. We spend time filling this burning with earthly things. Things that will never, ever quench the inferno inside us. I believe it’s because only our beloved sweet Jesus can quench the inferno of our souls.
On this Good Friday, my heart is heavy. It is so hard to see any good in this day. I close my eyes and I see our sweet Jesus. He was humiliated, ridiculed and mocked. He stood innocent, yet took our punishment to save us from certain death. Our sweet Jesus beaten and hung on a cross to die. I think of the cross that hung in my childhood church. It was beautiful and pristine. A symbol pointing to our sweet Savior. Death by crucifixion wasn’t beautiful or pristine. It was torturous and gruesome and horrific.
And yet, it was good.
The paradox this day holds points to something big coming.
Our Good Friday full of pain.
The pain in this day points to something big coming.
Our Silent Saturday full of waiting.
The tragedy of this day points to something big coming.
Our Easter Sunday full of the most incredible joy.
The timeline in Matthew says that right now, darkness came over all the land.
In this darkness we think about Jesus. We think about Notre Dame and our modern day burning bush. We think about the Lord pointing us back to him. Because in the end, it all just points back to Him.
On this Good Friday, we wait and we pray…
Notre Père qui es aux cieux, que ton nom soit sanctifié; Que ton règne vienne; Que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel. Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain quotidien; et pardonne-nous nos offenses comme nous pardonnons à ceux qui nous ont offensés; et ne nous induis pas en tentation, mais délivre-nous du mal, Amen.
I laid on the soft, heated table in the dark room, heat lamps hovered above my body radiating warmth across my skin. The temperature outside hovered around 10 degrees but I was in a cocoon of warmth and it was magical. I drifted in and out of sleep while the acupuncture needles did all the things that acupuncture needles do. I was in a state of zenAF and amazing music massaged my eardrums…
Until I heard it…
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…
ON and ON and ON and ON and ON and ON and ON.
It took me a moment to rouse my brain, defog it and realize this was not a fire alarm. I wasn’t in danger and I should not begin frantically pulling out the acupuncture needles as I searched the darkness for my clothes. This was not any kind of emergency. It was instead, the reminder on my phone prompting me to give my old lady dog with slight incontinence issues her medicine.
I love my little old lady doggie. And also, FRIG.
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…
I laid on the table, now wide awake. I was willing the beeping to turn off so I could get all cozy with my ZenAF mindset again.
It didn’t shut off.
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…
Thank you, Apple for your unyeilding desire to keep me reminded of the shit I asked you to remind me about. You are relentless in the pursuit.
I laid on the table growing more and more annoyed with each beep. I laid yearning to drift back off to LaLaLand. I start to try and make the beeping mesh with the soft music playing… spoiler alert: it doesn’t mesh. At all. Ever.
I laid on the table defeated in my efforts and faced with two choices. I could accept what was happening knowing I couldn’t at all change it, or I could keep fighting the (self-inflicted) situation I found myself in. I realize that I was leaning toward the latter and it was time to flip the flow. Choosing the accept the situation didn’t change anything. It didn’t make the beeping stop and I definitely didn’t get back to my zenAF state. What it did do, was allow me space to not have a negative reaction about what was happening. It goes back to the radical acceptance post I wrote a while back.
I made a conscious choice to be at peace with the situation I found myself in. By accepting that which I could do nothing about and surrendering to it, I laid there in that warm, cozy dark room and I started to laugh. It came out as a giggle at first and turned into an all out belly laugh. As I write this I am still unsure what was so funny but I know the laughter bubbling out helped me not take the situation so serious. In a weird turn of events, acceptance helped me find a new giggly zenAF in a situation that offered zero zenAF notions.
I think about what it means to be human and the things that happen to us in a day. The millions of tiny things that have an impact on who we are and how our days pan out. I think on how many times our circumstances get in the way of our moods, hearts and attitudes.
It is here that I pose a question to you.
With what mindset do you want to spend your day?
Do you want to spend your time letting your circumstance be in control of you or do you want to spend your time joyful regardless of your circumstances? I choose radical acceptance, a shit ton of peace and even more giggly, laughter that bubbles out in pure joy. Choose wisely, sweet readers. We don’t get our days back and rarely do we get do-overs. We don’t always choose our circumstances but we always choose our mindset.
Among the azaleas, magnolias and dogwoods a story unfolded. It is a story that has spanned decades and today came full-circle. It’s a story about adversity. It’s a story about struggle. It’s a story about mistakes, courage, and the relentless pursuit to attain success again. It’s a story about all of those things – and now, it’s a story about a comeback.
Some call it the greatest comeback of all time.
There was a moment when a judgmental world shook their head at him. His story that we didn’t understand at the time has now been redeemed into a fairytale of sorts. I think the reason his story is so incredible is because oftentimes, athletes don’t get the comeback they are hoping for and if they do, they don’t end up winning the championship again. His story is incredible because so many times, in sports and in life, hard things don’t end in greatness.
Tiger’s story is the story of hard work and non-negotiable drive. Relentless will and the unwavering pursuit of excellence. It’s the kind of feel-good story that Hollywood makes movies about.
The moment he embraced his caddy with his million dollar smile and yelled, “we did it!”, I felt a small lump form in my throat.
The moment he embraced his son, the Mama in me teared up.
The moment he embraced his Mama, the Mama in me sobbed.
The moment he embraced his daughter, the Mama in me ugly cried.
I can’t help but wonder if Tiger’s rise and fall and rise again is a lesson to us all. Sure, our stories don’t culminate on incredible golf courses with the world watching or end with beautiful green jackets that bring a tear to an eye. But they do happen in the secret places of our lives and our homes. Our growing and changing and successes and failures.
On a Sunday in April, at one of the most storied golf courses in all the land, with the world watching, Tiger put on a green jacket and gave us one of the greatest moments the sport has ever seen. On a human level, he offered the watching world the notion that we don’t have to ever be defined by who we were at one time. We can hold on to hope and redeem our path. We can be successful and create futures that are incredible no matter what or who our past says we are.
On a Sunday at Augusta, among the azaleas, magnolias and dogwoods a story unfolded- and what a story it was.
Does your soul ever get wonky? The kind of wonky where you feel itchy in your own skin. Like something is off and you’re unsettled.
Err… uhh… right. Me neither.
Except, can I be honest in this super safe space?
Sometimes I do.
Sometimes my soul feels wonky and I feel itchy in my own skin… more accurately in my own life. If I can be super honest, sometimes in the quiet moments of my day when I am alone in my thoughts, the ultimate joy-stealer starts to creep in… doubt.
Doubt about life.
Doubt about friendships.
Doubt about the way I am a Wife.
Doubt about the way I am a Mama.
Doubt about my health and my fitness journey.
Doubt about my career and education and if I am smart enough.
Doubt about finances and the best ways to invest, save, give or spend our money.
Y’all… SO. MUCH. DOUBT.
I bet if I went on that list long enough I might hit a doubt or few that get the best of you too.
In the Book of James, scripture describes someone who doubts “like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” What a perfect description. Well played, God.
Would you agree that sometimes these storms of doubt leave us feeling seasick?
What do we do with this?
In the past, at the first sign of an unsettled heart, I did anything and everything I could to fill that wonky void. I didn’t want to feel the pain of an unsettled soul, so I attached myself to vices that helped me not pay attention to the unrest inside me. I think in these moments when our souls are unsettled and we feel itchy in our skin, when our urge is to fill the void and go as numb as we can, we have to turn our minds and hearts to the one who made us. Turn our minds and hearts to the only one who truly knows our minds and hearts because he created them.
During a recent journey through a storm of doubt, I realized what was happening and I stopped my brain in that moment. I flipped the flow on the waves of doubt. I stood up from where I was and took a deep breath. I walked to the nearest window and felt the sun on my face. I put my hand over my heart, and I got really still. That heartbeat I felt was mine. No one else’s. That heartbeat was God’s gift to me and signifies a purpose I have on this planet.
Know what the coolest thing about this is?
YOU HAVE ONE TOO!
When doubt and unrest creep into your day, your life, your moments, your thoughts – stop and flip the flow. Take a deep breath. Stand in truth. Feel your heart beating. That heart is beating to allow you to live your purpose. I have learned something along the way in this life- when I have purpose in my heart, I can’t have unrest in my soul. There isn’t any room for it.
The unrest fades away.
The doubt significantly diminishes.
In its place, the truth. Your truth. The truth that ultimately sets you free.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place,
*Readers Note: #Life #Work #MarchMadness #Travel #OrangeTheoryObsession has kept me from my Monday Musings and a bit of social media for a few weeks… it’s been amazing to say the least… and now I am back… Here’s a musing to kick off your week!
p.s. Hey Spartan Nation… how ’bout #ourteamtho
#AllGreenEverything #Errrythaaang #FinalFour
I found myself situated in the back of an Uber in one of my favorite cities. The events that brought me here were nothing short of incredible. Some of it a little luck- but most of it, a lot of it, prayer. Some answered prayers and if we are being honest, some not-so-answered ones. I watched from the back of the car as Chicago and its people passed by. There was a lot on my brain and what I was about to embark on was something I had never experienced. My nerves started to get the best of me and I slowly became a mix of excitement and fear that made me fidget. I could feel myself getting annoyed at my fidgeting. It’s my tell-tale sign of nervousness, which then makes me annoyed at myself for being nervous, which makes me fidget more. It becomes a vicious cycle in my brain that makes me sweat a little.
You’re super welcome for that galavant through my psyche. Cheers.
Sitting in the back of an Uber and trapped in my thoughts, I let out a long and labored sigh. My uber driver peeked up at me in the rearview mirror and our eyes met. It was perhaps the first time I had actually looked at this man since I sat in his car. He smiled at me with one of those smiles that though I couldn’t see his mouth, I could see in his eyes he was beaming from ear to ear. He had a joy that radiated off him.
Uber Driver: You having a terrible day, Girl?
Me: No, no, not at all! It’s a good day!
Me: I am fine.
Another pause as I sift through my thoughts. I could see him glance up at me in the mirror again.
Me: Thank you for asking.
I offer him a half-smile. I think he could probably tell I was trying super hard to project an air of confidence that I 700% didn’t possess in that moment. It may have been the annoying higher than high pitch in my voice.
Uber Driver: Ok girl.
I could tell by his tone he was smirking.
Uber Driver: You know what, Girl? I never have a bad day.
Full disclosure: in my head I rolled my eyes at him. Being polite though, I smiled a fake smile that definitely didn’t reach my eyes like his did.
Me: Oh really?! What’s your secret?
Uber Driver: I wake up!
I wasn’t expecting this and I laughed – which also came out with a snort. It’s cool, I am sometimes awkward. Whatever.
Me: Well that’s an amazing way to look at life.
Uber Driver: Yes girl. I just wake up.
I felt myself slowly become amused with my newest Chicagoan friend.
Me: When I am having a bad day can I call you for a pep talk?
What he said next caught me by surprise and hit a place deep in my heart.
Uber Driver: Just look in the mirror, Girl. You don’t need anyone else.
Like clockwork, our eyes met again in the rearview mirror and I could see him smiling back at me. In that moment, I knew in the gut of my soul I had everything I needed to be successful. As my Uber rolled to a stop, I thanked him for his wisdom that also happened to be divine timing. I stepped out of the Uber and walked to the building that held life’s newest adventure. I paused on the sidewalk as Chicagoans sped past me. I took a breath that filled my lungs and I followed the windows of the building all the way up until they kissed the sky. My fidgets had faded and in their place, steadfast resolve for the next step.
Sweet friends, I can’t help but wonder if this sweet Uber driver’s wisdom resonates in a place within you? A place that every once in a while needs to be shaken up so you remember who you are. There is a pink sticky that hangs at my desk that says “so now that I was in this glamorous scene, I meant to make the most of its opportunities.” I don’t know who said it, and I don’t know where I found it, but it hits me hard in moments like this. One day we open our eyes and here we are in these divine moments on ordinary days. It’s these small moments, tiny conversations that change everything. Do something today to change your life. Have a conversation, make a choice, create an outcome. Let steadfast resolve sink into your bones and make the most of this day.
See you back here next week, same time, same place,