Monday, October 31, 2011

Yes Life, I'm Listening


I had an eye opening exchange the other day with a new friend about clarity and stress.  This, just as life would decide to happen.  Irony right, being asked what your stresses are in life and how you handle them just as a really big one, two or three of them come along within the same couple of weeks.  One of the three was so big that it created a new branch of clarity in my own life. Um, yeah, talk about coincidental timing.  You probably already know how I feel about coincidences though.  For those of you who don't know, I most resonate with Einstein's statement that coincidences were believed to be God's way of staying anonymous.  

What happened that was so stressful?  I almost lost one of my best friends Amber.  It was the weekend and I was preparing for the day ahead.  The phone rang and the caller ID said it was her house.  I figured she was calling to harass me about making her infamous homemade pizza at game night later that evening.  I'd last seen her the evening before and had left her home before she would start dinner for her family.  It wasn't her on the phone though, it was her husband.  I sat down at my desk as my soul sunk hearing his voice crack.  Those words, please don't say those words I thought.  No, it was impossible to process.  Amber?  A fire?  Our Amber is in ICU?  Amber?  Unconscious?  Last night?

I just wanted to act in that moment, to get in the car to head across town to swoop her kids up and tell them everything was going to work out, that it would get better, to stay strong.  I just wanted to honor my friendship and do right by her family but I was frozen and I could barely catch my breath as I hung up the phone.  I was in shock.  Here it was, my friend had been burned badly in a kitchen fire.  Her lungs had swelled up and shut down on her so she was incubated and kept under to heal.  For all intensive purposes she'll tell you she died from asphyxiation.  Oh my goodness, she would even crack smart jokes at what happened saying, "I had a near death experience.  I'm not worried about sleeping anytime soon!" and "I got shafted! I didn't see a light! What in the world, there is supposed to be a light!" upon her return home from the hospital five days later.  Those aren't exact quotes by the way.  I took out the curse words that flavored the exchange as to not offend anyone here.  

Of course we all had a good belly laugh over those statements but there it was though, in just a few concise smart and witty words, clarity.  Sweet, sweet clarity.  Amber's clarity about life and what mattered most to her, living to care for the family she loves and getting home as quickly as possible to them.  It took everything I had in me to not cry the night she came home and said those words.  You see, when I moved to the mountains in 2004 my first and most fiercely loyal friend would be Amber.  Her independence, wit, endearing strength, love and loyalty of her family are the things that bonded our friendship.  She is the epitome of the stereotypical 1950s homemaker but with new world sass and attitude.  Everything in her family centers around her devotion to them.  To not make it, to not be there for them is nothing short of unacceptable in her book.  She had to live and she had to get back home to them. 

Amber is also what I call a lifer friend.  Those people in your life, the ones who you just click with in a way that is beyond words when you meet them.  A lifer is meeting someone you have felt you have known forever, someone that once you meet them you just can't imagine them not being a part of your life.  My dear friend Amber, yes, she is one of these gems.  So yeah, to even think about her not being there was inconceivable in my mind, let alone her family. 

Being there as best I could those first few days for her family and watching them worry along side myself and her best friend Amy was transformative.  It really forced me to look upon my own life again, evaluating what matters, who I have room for and who I don't.  I learned who my own friends are far and wide, even people I haven't met yet in real life when I reached out to receive positive thoughts and prayers online.  To be honest, I'm still processing my emotions and feelings about all of it.  I do know that I understand this much though, that what I feel from within is very clear.  Out of Amber's situation came my very own sweet clarity.

You see, to me, clarity, it is one of those things that comes after surrender.  After trials and tribulations.  After you have been so down you don't realize how awesome it is to get up anymore.  Clarity is the gift of the struggle. Clarity really can't be found either.  It's just there, like a cool light rain on an uncomfortably warm summer day.  Oh but you will know when it comes though, for it will light you up from the inside out and the bliss from the same will touch everything you know and do.  Clarity comes from the stretching of one's character.

Yes life, I'm stretching and I'm listening.  Thank you for the clarity.  Thank you for pushing me to reach and trust during that difficult time of unknowing.  Thank you for my other friends who carried me through it.  Lastly and most importantly, thank you for Amber.

Copyright ©2011 Nita Clewis
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