When Fate Steps In

At work last week, I was fortunate enough to meet a couple from Texas and their adorable granddaughter that were visiting Beverly Hills.  They were incredibly nice, which is something quite refreshing, and they let their granddaughter order chocolate cake for lunch, so right aways I love them. We started talking quite a bit about life when the man asked me what my tattoo meant.  I told him it meant fate, and he asked me what that meant to me.  I told him that it meant I was supposed to meet them that day because we always end up exactly where we’re meant to be, at exactly the time we’re meant to be there.  This is how God works, to me.

They were a very religious couple, and we started speaking a lot about God and what His plans are for all of us.  I told them I’d been feeling a bit mis-guided and lost, and wasn’t sure which direction my life would go.  The man said that it was fate that we met that day.  That God meant for us to meet, because he really didn’t want to come into the restaurant, his wife did.  He was so against it that he told me he actually rebelled the only way he could – by wearing jeans instead of khakis!!! But, that as soon as they met me, he knew exactly why they came to the restaurant that day.  Our conversation was incredibly comforting, and I felt so much better after having met them.  I”m not very religious, but this was something else entirely.   This odd comfort.  I left work feeling like, yet again, I”d met people exactly when I needed them most. They said they’d try to come back later in the week to see me.

Flash forward, it’s now Saturday, my day off.  For various reasons I won’t get into, I’ve had an incredibly yucky, lonely, depressed day (hey, why sugar coat? I’ve got a point to make here!).  Mostly, incredibly lonely.  The physical distance between me and my loved ones has never seemed greater.  A sweet co-worker friend of mine called and told me that a family from Texas had left a gift for me at the restaurant if I wanted to come pick it up.  I knew immediately who the family was and curiosity got the better of me. I decided to go see what they’d left.  I opened the Nordstrom bag to find a thick copy of the Bible.  Once I was back comfortably in my car, I opened the front cover because I knew I’d find something there, and sure enough a card from them was stuck into the binding.  It read:

Ashley-

We really enjoyed visiting with you the other day at ___________! We’ve been praying for you and wanted to give you the Bible.  We think you’ll enjoy! Look up two of our favorite versus – Matthew 6:33 and Jeremiah 29:11.

God Bless,

Your New Friends From Texas

I looked up each verse, as they’d requested, and immediately felt comforted.  Tears sprang to my eyes. Goose bumps dotted my arms.  How has this force (which at this point, I’m convinced is God) once again brought these people into my life when I needed it most?  Along with this, a steady stream of phone calls and messages from my sweet friends and family today have let me know that God wants me to know I’m not alone at all.  I’m actually very much surrounded by love, and love doesn’t necessarily have to be seen to be felt.  I so very, very, very much wish I could thank this kind family for this gift they’ve given me.  I’ve never considered myself to be religious, but I can’t deny the comfort and love and faith this has made me feel.

I’ll be asking God to give them a sign that I’ve received their gift and put its words to good use, and I’ll be praying for only great things to come their way as well.  I don’t know if my prayers are heard, but I do know, now more than ever, that it can’t hurt.

 

Thank you, sweet strangers for your thoughtful gift.

Thank you, sweet friends for bombarding me with phone calls without knowing how badly I needed them.

Thank you, family, for being so amazing that I miss you this much every day.

Thank you, boyfriend, for sitting on the front steps as I came home and insisting on hugging me so hard.

Thank you, co-workers for hugging me as I came in today.

Thank you,

thank you,

thank you.

 

– A

 

 

 

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A Pack Rat Find

Boats in Santa Barbara

I am a pack rat.  While over the years, this hasn’t made for easy moving situations, it has led to finding some pretty cool things that I’d saved in hopes of using in some way, some day.  Among the many things I save, the articles and quotes that I’ve ripped from the pages of magazines and (ahem) books, usually become the most useful.  It’s interesting looking at the dates of articles I’d ripped out and considered relevant to my life at the time (or hoped relevance in the future).  I came across a ripped and tattered article in my most recent move that I’d torn from the pages of one of my very favorite magazines, Reader’s Digest. I’ve been reading the magazine longer than any other magazine I’ve read in my life…I began reading my grandmother’s copies at about 10 and then subscribed to my own copies at around 12.

The article is entitled “Why Leave Home?” and is written by Paul Theroux.  It’s only two pages, but incredibly interesting, if you ask me.  Most interesting and useful, is his list at the tail end of the article called “The Essential Tao of Travel.”

I wanted to share it in hopes that during the time of the year that we travel most frequently, it would perhaps inspire.  The list of rules for travel, published in the June 2011 Reader’s Digest, by Paul Theroux is as follows:

1.  Leave home.

2. Go alone.

3. Travel light.

4. Bring a map.

5. Go by land.

6. Walk across a national frontier.

7. Keep a journal.

8. Read a novel that has no relation to the place you’re in.

9. If you must bring a cell phone, avoid using it.

10. Make a friend.

 

After driving across the United States, these rules for travel seem so insightful and useful.  Although I didn’t go alone, many of them I did do.  I think out of any of these rules, the most useful one is number 10 (make a friend).  Out of all of the traveling I’ve done in my life (which really isn’t THAT much), the one thing I take the most from is simply talking to people.  Locals, more specifically.  They offer a wealth of information about both the place you’re in, and life in general.  I am a firm believer that we find people in our lives when they can be of most help to us, and it’s never failed that I’ve met people that are a quick blink on my radar, but their words have stuck with me forever.

 

Which of these rules for travel to do you like best? Would you add any?

Happy Trails,

– A

 

They Come Looking For Me

Through the doors…

I firmly believe that I don’t find books, they find me.  If you don’t feel the same thing, that’s okay.  It’s a bit far fetched, I’m sure, to believe that literature can come looking for us at times of need.  But, alas, for some reason, I feel that I always find myself picking up a random book at a bookstore or off of the used books for sale at the library that just seem to reach right inside me and make me feel like our connection was meant to be.   At the hand of some force unknown to me, it is always somehow a story that is incredibly relevant to whatever I happen to be going through at the time, and the words somehow heal me and offer me comfort.  I am writing this because it has happened to me yet again.  Five years ago, when my father passed away suddenly, two of my best and oldest friends bought me a copy of the book The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, with a heartfelt inscription on the inside cover hoping that it’s words would help me in my time of need.  Well, to put it mildly, it did.  If you haven’t read The Alchemist, run to the bookstore and get a copy.  I’d lend you mine, but I’d just as soon promise you my first born.  After reading it, I became addicted to Paulo Coelho.  His words are incredibly poetic and almost prophetic (did I just make up a word?!).  I now find myself reading The Witch of Portobello, for no other reason than it was on sale on i-tunes and I always have a book to read on my i-pad while I’m on the elliptical at the gym.  And fate has done it again.  I won’t explain the relevance this book has to my own life, because it seems too personal, but I will share with you it’s basis and one of the five million quotes I’ve highlighted.  Athena is a “witch,” and the story of her life is told through the words of the people who knew her – her mother, her ex-husband, her teacher, her “friend.”  Each person had a vastly different experience with Athena and the effect she had on their lives.  I think all women can be bewitching in our own way, and that’s all I’ll say about that for now.

The quote I love:

“We women, when we’re seaching for a meaning to our lives or for the path of knowledge, always identify with one of four classic archetypes.

The Virgin (and I’m not speaking here of a sexual virgin) is the one whose search springs from her complete independence, and everything she learns is the fruit of her ability to face challenges alone.

The Martyr finds her way to self-knowledge through pain, surrender, and suffering.

The Saint finds her true reason for living in unconditional love and in her ability to give without asking anything in return.

Finally, the Witch justifies her existence by going in search of complete and limitless pleasure.”

So, being that I’m going though a search for the meaning of my life and the “path of knowledge,” this segment rang particularly true with me.  I began pondering which archetype I fall into.  As women we all face our struggles trying to figure out who we are and where we fit in in life, and I know each woman reading this will absolutely ponder which of these four she is, and then which she wishes she was.

I think they’re all divine and bewitching in their own right.

Which are you?

– A

I am still Me.

 

Well, I’ve done it again.  My last post was on June 30th, and I can’t believe I’ve let that much time go by without writing something! Even something crappy! But, in my defense, I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch…

I want to be completely honest, because I want to express that changes in life aren’t easy or always pleasant.  I want to be real about my life and my experiences and how amazing and how completely shitty they can be.  Over the past few months, I’ve been sinking into a depression.  The sun is shining here in L.A.  The weather is warm.  It never rains.  I’m making good money.  I am reading books.

And I have been miserable.

I miss my friends. I miss my family.  I miss the smell of cool rain on hot pavement.  I miss our yearly summer vacation in Maine.  I miss having cookouts on warm summer nights with burned hamburgers and cheap beer.  I miss sitting with my beautiful best friends and talking about nothing and everything.  I miss going grocery shopping with my mom.  I miss trees (yes, trees…there are almost none in this concrete city).  I miss hearing birds and crickets.  I miss hugging my grandparents and breathing in their smell.  I miss feeling like there’s more out there for me.  Because now that I am “out there,” I’m beginning to wonder if there really is more.

I gave up teaching in the hopes of finding something to do with my life that would leave me feeling equally as fulfilled, but less old.  Less drained.  I haven’t found that thing yet.  I feel completely blessed to have the life I have here in Los Angeles, and I never take it for granted for even 30 seconds.  But, I have been here a little over a year now, and have yet to figure out what to do with my life.  I feel lost.   Now I’m faced with a career path to choose (if it were up to me, I’d hide out all day and write novels, but that won’t pay the bills – at least not now).  I’ve struggled with why having  a career is so damn important to us in America.  I am not defined by the way that I choose to pay my bills.  It doesn’t make me into a better or worse person.  And yet, there is something missing.  I feel…unimportant, for lack of a better word.  Feeling this way has made me feel like I almost don’t exist. I am totally uninspired (hence the lack of posts). Being so far away from home and the people I usually surround myself with when things get tough has made me feel even more alone and isolated.  I’ve considered moving home immediately, but I’m reminding myself that I’m an adult and I made the choice to move here, and running home (no matter how welcome it would be and how happy I’d be to go back) is not that answer.   I am forcing myself to see this through and figure out how to be whole again.  For the first time in a while, I can almost feel myself almost starting to break into happiness again.  But, I’m still lost.  I don’t know what to do with my life and I hate this feeling…

 

 

What have you done to make yourself feel whole again when depression hits or when you don’t know what to do with your life?

 

 

-A