Jasmine smells lovely. Every time I step outside in the back yard, I get a whiff of its delicate fragrance…quite possibly my favorite of all time!
It’s good to hold onto those little things that bring you joy.
I could write a blog about how hard it is to look in the mirror and realize you aren’t the person you thought you were. Your face doesn’t glow with youth, and age spots pop up daily. Your thighs get jigglier and you develop a muffin top when you’ve never had one before. Your new hairdresser tells you that blonde would just wash you out, and you realize that what he’s saying is that you are now too old to be able to carry blonde and carry it well. So you suck it up and go darker and then hate it so much you can’t bear to look in the mirror…so you didn’t even brush your teeth this morning. Great. Now you’ll have cavities and probably need a root canal…and you haven’t a clue who to call because you are new in town.
I could tell you that my teenage daughter is feeling depressed, to the point where she doesn’t want to do anything, not even eat, and she hasn’t even wanted to go to the beach yet. The beach! I could share with you the hours I’ve spent online looking up debate clubs and other activities that might entice her to branch out and find her people, here in this new, beautiful place, and how she hasn’t looked at them, doesn’t want to look at them, sleeps in until noon, and refuses to leave the house; so, you make her a hair appointment and force her to go even when she says she doesn’t feel well, because you are worried about her and think she may be happier if she gets some pampering. Afterwards you aren’t sure if she’s happy, but at least her hair looks glorious even if yours decidedly does not.
Maybe I could let you in on the little secret that a slower pace of life means…a slower pace of life and fewer conveniences you took for granted. Such as having not one but two Starbucks within a five minute drive…now the nearest Starbucks is a good fifteen to twenty minute drive away. Chick-fil-et, your favorite, is at least a half hour drive away. But the Wal-Mart is close and is open 24 hours, too! For those times when you are moving in and don’t have any bedding and have to find pillows and sheets and blankets at 10:30pm.
Or I could tell you about the quirky sales clerk at the local coffee shop whose name, Stacy, will stay with you due to her awesome customer service. How she practically orders for her customers, telling them what’s good and what’s not. How she takes them on a smelling tour of all the coffee beans, and you realize that The Lazy Bean is a lot better than Starbucks — if only it had a drive through! Then you think about it and figure that drive throughs are part of the reason communities don’t know each other very well. We drive thru and don’t take the time to get to know the Stacies of our world.
And then there is the 90-year-old neighbor across the street, who, along with his wife, want our phone number in case they need anything. You might want to bake up some cookies and take them over, so you add that to your to-do list and then kick yourself when the day passes by and you are buried in boxes and trying to find places for all this STUFF that came with you…once again another day passes, and no cookies have been baked, and your husband has met all the neighbors and you have so far met…none.
I could also let you in on the beauty of the river in the early morning sunrise, except that you keep tossing and turning and don’t fall asleep until nearly dawn and by the time you are up having your tea and breakfast, it’s hot as Texas out there on the deck overlooking the river, and you are barefoot and can’t find your shoes for all the stuff overflowing. So the sunrise goes unseen, but you resolve to set your alarm and change around your day so you can. If only you could sleep!
Oh and I could also sing the praises of poison as you throw “green” out the window and do battle with bugs that want to live with you. The suckers here in Florida don’t even bother knocking…they just come right in and make themselves at home, inviting all their little friends. So your husband washes the dogs in Dawn, rubs them with DE, and places vet-approved poison on their backs, and then he washes all the sheets, while you are away at the national debate tournament with your teenager. So when you come home the fleas are not on the dogs. For now…but you are thinking of buying stock in Advantix because you were so grossed out by the fleas that you dreamed of them burrowing and infesting and giving everyone the Black Death.
I could also tell you how easy it is for your wonderful husband to make friends…how he is already on a first-name basis with the two men who pick up the trash…how he took them Gatorade (because they can’t accept beer) and thanked them for their service. You are so proud of him and kicking yourself for not really SEEING people the way he does. Instead you’d rather curl up with a book and make friends with imaginary people. How sad is that?
I could let you take a peek at all the stuff that got damaged in the move…at the new wooden stair that has cracked…at the plants that need water and we haven’t figured out how much yet so they are wilting and droopy…but also at the beautiful gate your husband made to match the front porch, so now the dogs can go out and run and play without being able to get into the street, except for the little dog, who proved she is small enough to wiggle through three inch openings by twisting her head, flipping her body upside down, and shimmying through.
Maybe I could tell you about the FaceBook people who have reached out to you when you asked for help…and how tomorrow you are going to the zoo — the zoo! — to meet new people who you hope will be friends but you aren’t sure anybody will like you, especially in this weird state of mind.
I could also tell you how you are afraid to find a church community, because so much of what is the church is not Jesus, and you don’t “believe in” the Bible like so many churches say you should, and you are afraid of being shamed and kicked out for heresy but you want to love people and find a church that actively shares the good news through taking care of the community. And you so want to do that, to reach out, to love your neighbor, ALL your neighbors, not just the ones who look like you and think like you and talk like you, but you don’t know how. As your teen and your husband questioned the church you found you didn’t have the answers, either, and suddenly you have the same questions, and you become so afraid your teen will abandon her faith that you find Christians who are not fundamentalists, who are thinkers and scientists, who may be what some Christians would say are “liberals” (as if that’s a bad name) and others would say are “heretics” (as if your way to read the Bible is the only one). And now you don’t know how to find a church that puts love first and that would match up with what you now believe.
And after thinking all these things you then step outside on purpose, just to smell the jasmine. You decide to stop thinking about everything, just for that one moment, and BE. And then you email the salon and tell them you aren’t happy, and even if they don’t respond you feel a little better. You eat peanut butter for lunch even though you think it’s one of those foods that bother you, and you don’t care anymore because the jasmine is blooming and right now, that’s all that matters.