The cool, ocean air tickles my legs as the California soul warms my body, feeling my body heat, from inside to out, I can feel the promises of spring beginning to appear before me.
My eyelids start to flutter as I allow myself to zone out. The hum of the TV and the sound of quiet conversations lull me to sleep as I wait to enter the doctor’s office. The occasional yelp or cough from another patient brings me comfort, knowing that I am not alone in my pain.
I manage to find peace for the first time in what seems like days. My mental to-do list is entirely checked off and I can settle into the beginning of the week.
The soft purring of the feline besides me pulls me out of my stupor. His small claws are kneading into my blanket and his eyes are opening and closing as he gets more comfortable.
In the same way, I have to fight to keep my eyes open as sleep overwhelms my senses.
The aching in my calves continues and pushes me even further. The thoughts of being able to play out in the sun doing the sport I love just aren’t cutting it today.
My body is sweating and I couldn’t feel grosser if I tried. The desire to finish running overwhelms me and my mind goes blank. My body goes into autopilot and somehow, I end up where I started, almost a mile later, only this time, I’m gasping for air and yearning for water. Even with the amount of pain my body is in, I’m proud of myself for my small victory of the day.
My hands begin to shake and my heart rate immediately accelerates looking at the email I just received.
I automatically think it’s an acceptance to the leadership tour and let out a small squeak, but feel myself physically deflated when I realize it’s an interview and tour of the office.
I try to pep myself back up, unsuccessfully, and turn to someone who I know will. Without fail, I feel more confident with my friends and parents assurance. I start visualizing the interview, the tour, my outfit, and a million other things that let my imagination run wild, and help me to get more and more excited.
I allow myself to be distracted by the sight of spring sandals and feel myself getting lost in thoughts of warmer weather and bright colors.
I look around and no longer see my dad. Confused, I whip my head around until he’s locked in my line of vision.
I move away from the shoes, allowing thoughts of spring to fill my mind and take over my movements. Before I know it, I’m skipping down the aisle and calling for my dad to walk slower so I have more time to catch up.
The flurry of activity surrounds me like a hug. The people buzz around me, each one waiting to greet the actors. The smile stretches over my face as I recall the emotions the past two hours have put me through.
The feeling of pride overwhelms my heart as I can see each one of my friends beaming after their performance. Their makeup may be smudged, but their ability to express a story (and use consistent British accents) amazes me. Being able to witness them share their talents on such a public stage makes me feel honored to witness it.
I come out of the Church on this Ash Wednesday feeling all kinds of giddy.
Giddy because I know that this season before will never be more than I can handle.
Giddy because I’m surrounded by my family and am able to publicly profess my faith in such an intimate and meaningful way.
Giddy because everyday I get to wake up and try again.
Giddy because I know today will be a good day, not because of circumstance, but because of my conscious decision to have hope about the life set before me.
I turn the music down a little more and allow myself to be lost in the drive. I glance up at the stars and my jaw drops. Before I can convince myself otherwise, I keep scanning for beady, deer eyes that dare to enter my path. I wince as I see a group of potholes stretching from one side to another and brace myself for an impact that never comes. This constant repetition takes me all the way to the store and all the way home.
Driving to get something as mundane as cake mix is still worth it to be able to experience the freedom that comes with getting my license and turning 16 (even if I am used to run errands).
The laughs bubble out of me without thinking much of what the priest is saying. The good Catholic inside of me screams to listen to the blessing but my reddening face and aching sides don’t agree.
Looking down the pew, I can see the family that I love so much (even if they do shove me to get me to move over and leave their coats for me to trip on). Our faces are illuminated by sunshine flowing through the tall, stain-glassed windows and our hearts are overwhelmed with love for another and for the Holy Spirit.