You probably don’t experience moments when your brain seems to freeze up. I do. I can easily imagine what a car overheating would feel like; you’re suddenly stuck where you are, unable to move and it’s all you can do to understand what just happened. You’ll get around to wondering why.
I’ve moved around a lot lately. Having driver’s licenses from three states over seven months, that brain fade lately happens to me frequently. I experience the phenomenon especially when I encounter people I haven’t seen or thought of in years. Maybe it’s a normal homecoming thing. Maybe. It has nothing to do with aging.
This week a woman visited our Community Group adding a fresh touch to our 6 members. I noticed upon entering the house she looked familiar. I assumed I’d seen her in church. I’ve only attended for 5 weeks, so familiar-but-unplaceable faces are commonplace. Hand extended toward her I crossed the room, when she surprised me by standing, opening her arms to me. I welcome hugs among the brethren, so a hug from a newcomer was nice.
Before letting go she said, “Eva.” And then she repeated, “Eva!” I looked more closely and suddenly recognized the woman I’d worked with at the radio station some fifteen years before. Unlike me she hasn’t aged a day!
With all the customary jumps, squeals, more hugs and oh-my-goodness-es, we derailed the meeting for a few moments covering the broad strokes. I doubt anyone realized I sat across the room from her so I could see her clearly without glasses (my mid-range). Through the study we bounced ideas off each other like we’d done brainstorming ad campaigns. And the memories kept on coming.
Please don’t ask me for any minute details about the lesson.
Later at home, before my prayers I marveled over how well she’s done;
- She married,
- just sold her home and bought a new one in town in one of the newer, upscale neighborhoods,
- her boy grew up and did time in the Service,
- she and her husband have a growing business and
- she still writes advertisements, only at the local TV studio now,
- she drove the late-model Cadillac SLT that was parked where Roomate typically parks,
- she and her husband have been charter members of our church since its early beginnings (the one I diverted from ten years ago, going to Illinois instead).
The girl’s done well.
Strangely, sleep didn’t come easily that night. Instead of resting I paced around the apartment looking for little tasks. The rustic character of the place affords them in abundance.
For the first time since my arrival, I wasn’t entirely enchanted with my life.
Before too long (quick as I am these days) I realized I’d wandered onto the slippery slope of the comparison game. Certain my prayers didn’t get past the ceiling, I decided to burn the midnight oil. Before long at all my mind slipped back into how well my former workmate’s done and I began pacing the open spaces of the apartment trying to clear my mind – again.
As I drug my hand across the polished chrome of The Deuce, Cole’s custom Harley Davidson, feeling the smooth, cold metal against my fingertips, I imagined my far more traditional, conservative workmate’s face upon seeing my new digs – and the jokes about the pair of immaculate Harleys inside my home. For the first time I questioned if I actually liked them here.
I normally enjoy the bikes wintering indoors with me. Both my brothers cherished not only the exceptional machinery and stunningly beautiful detailing, but the memories they made riding them all over the countryside, just as I enjoy their stories of the road.
But I realized I don’t hold title on either bike.
Looking around my rustic cottage apartment:
- the stained concrete floors (artfully colored, of course),
- mismatched area rugs, china and flatware,
- boxes wrapped with contact paper for storage (and temporary makeshift occasional tables),
- the shabby chic, barnwood tables (Chip and Joanna Gaines would drool over – jus’ sayin’),
- my late brother’s recliner (that I won’t disown for love or money), etc.
A stranger would imagine that I’m impecunious. With my background of course I am. But I’m pleased with my accomplishments that brought me here:
- I no longer own a motor vehicle or real estate today. I drive Cole’s vehicles.
- I actually like hanging my wash to dry rather than run the meter using the clothes dryer,
- I don’t mind the workout from foraging and chopping wood for heat – yet. (It’s been a mild, beautiful autumn).
- Six years after near financial ruin, with a microscopic recordable income, my credit score is now average.
So, on paper my estate’s essentially worthless.
But any time I walk out my door, the pack of dogs are happy to greet me. Horses neigh from the pastures and the cows moo whenever they see me walking westward (always glad for any tasty offering). A couple of times a day, no matter what’s going on in the shop, Cole bursts through the door, “just counting noses,” often tossing out some task for me to reinforce I’m wanted – I know, awww… DearOldFriend is always nearby to lend an ear or a shoulder whenever I need one, chatting with my guys help fill the gap when I find time to miss my grand kids and I can text or talk with the rest of the family whenever.
“If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life.*”
I spend most of my days doing what I love, so it rarely seems like work. I can walk the acreage without speaking to anyone or find a kindred soul to chat with any time I need to or work on my Spanglish. My age-old dream of a living on a self-sustaining property is gradually becoming a reality.
Life could be better, but I’d need some serious time to imagine how. I’ll rest well tonight.
It’s good to be home.
“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”
Galatians 6:4 (NLT)
*Ancient Chinese Philosophy (or Marc Anthony)
Opening image courtesy of Pixabay.