Conversation with my [Non-existent] Prince Charming

“I’m just afraid that you’re gonna try and kill me or something.” I thought he was joking, but when I looked up from my phone and looked at his face it was nothing short of seriousness. Dark curls gathered like a wet mop on top of his head; his green eyes staring straight at me. His calloused hands rested on the sides of his sanguine colored recliner, gripping a can of Root Beer.

“Why would I kill you?” I smirk, amused at this accusational statement.

“Because…well…I don’t reciprocate any feelings back.”

I look at him with concern, “What are you talking about?” What did he know?

“The other night, when you came to apologize to me…after we got into that small tizzy…”

“Ummm okay.”

“Well…you told me you loved me.” I pause. Concerned that what I thought was a dream wasn’t a dream at all. But it felt so fake. It didn’t feel like it happened. Was I drunk?

“Okay…so you think that just because you don’t have any feelings matching what I feel…that I’m going to…to kill you?”

“I mean…yeah,” he stammers, looking down as if suddenly the ivory carpet looked interesting.

“Do you think you’re the first guy to ever reject me or something?” I paused. He waited, confused and concerned. I continued.

“You’re not. Do you realize that pretty much every guy I’ve had any feelings for rejected me? I’m not the most likable person around. I’ve only ever had that one serious relationship. Obviously he didn’t even like me in the end. In eighth grade, do you wanna know why I started having an eating disorder. Because I was rejected by some douche-waffle that I had a major crush on. I wrote him a stupid love poem, and shoved it in his locker. The next day I heard him laughing about it in gym class with a couple of other dudes. Laughing. And making fun of ‘some girl who spends too much time inside.’

“And do you know, my best friend at the time, who was a guy because I couldn’t make friends with girls, because I was such a tomboy, went and told that boy, that very boy that I had a huge crush on…the one that I made a poem for, he told the boy that I had a huge crush on him. His response? It was ‘eww, shes gross and fat.’ I died inside.” Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. One slid down into the corner of my mouth. I licked my salty tasting lips.

“I literally started starving myself. Anything to make myself more appeasable to someone out there. Do you realize I emphasize how much I want to just stay single, that I’m better off by myself, so that if I end up being single the rest of my life, which will probably happen, I emphasize this so that I’m never disappointed with the results? I don’t fear being rejected. I actually fear being wrong. I fear that ‘what if.’ What if I ever did find someone—then what?”

He looked baffled. Not really sure what to say. His green eyes looks at me then down then back at me. “I think that you’re too hard on yourself.”

“And I think you overthink anything I do, and my supposed intentions.”

He opened his mouth to respond but quickly shut it, not sure how to respond at this point. I got up from the faded brown chair to plug my phone in at the nearby outlet. My back still towards him. I let out a long breath.

“Look, you’re my best friend. And just because you don’t have feelings for me doesn’t change anything. I appreciate our friendship…just as it is. And I always will. I used to think you had feelings for me but…honestly I know that you don’t. And that’s okay.”

I let out a sigh of relief. I turn around to the old, red chair across the room; it was empty.

 

Any events, persons, and/or materials are completely fictitious and any resemblance to non-fictitious events, persons, and/or materials are completely coincidental.

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One Step

A few days ago I went hiking with one of my good friends Luke* at a local state park. It was quite breathtaking. Literally. With my face all red, my legs aching with every “one more step,” my heart pounding so fast it felt like it was about to jump out of my chest, we both made it to the top. And it was probably one of the most spectacular views.

It wasn’t my first time hiking at this state park, but it was the first time I made it all the way to the top and around. I’ve gone with a few of my other friends before and at one point I even took my dog (he enjoyed it quite a bit). The start itself was pretty decent. By this point I knew the beginning part quite well. Those nook and crannies. Those particularly slippery rocks. The part where the steps were significantly high. But as I took it one step closer towards the top, I repeatedly joked with Luke, “Just leave me here to die. You carry on without me.” And he always replied, “No. I won’t leave you here to die.” A little less than halfway, our first real breather stop, he took my backpack and carried it the rest of the way. He is in far better shape than I am, and he knew the path ahead much better than I did. That breather spot had a fantastic view, and I could only imagine the view up ahead.

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“That breather spot had a fantastic view…”

As we continued on, and I yearned to just stop and turn around to head back down because I was tired, I kept yearning to make it to the top to see that spectacular view. At one point, I lost my footing and fell on my knee. It has a tiny scratch there. Throughout the trek I kept telling myself, “One more step,” until at last, half hour later, we made it to the top. The view…well let’s just say it was ‘on point’ as teenagers say nowadays.

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“…marveling at the tiny parking lot below me, and the lake that looked just as grand as it does at the bottom…”

As I stand there marveling at the tiny parking lot below me, and the lake that looked just as grand as it does at the bottom, thunder rumbled across the sky and water began to sprinkle down. At this point it was a horizontal walk for a bit. There were flowers and trees everywhere on top. I knew there were trees everywhere, but for whatever reason I had it in my head that it was going to be really rocky and hardly any vegetation up there. It’s amazing how I picture something in my head and I’m proven wrong but in a beautiful way.

The hike down wasn’t as literally breathtaking as the climb up, just figuratively. The rocks, which had been carved and moved by glaciers in years past, were so beautiful with their shades of red and brown and even a touch of black here and there. The formations were extraordinary. At one point, I saw these really smoothly indentations  that looked like the outline of a giant’s butt. I would have taken more pictures, had it not been sprinkling and my battery wasn’t low. Every step down, I’d whisper inside my head, “just one more step…you can do this.” My friend was a trooper in going at a slower pace than he probably would have liked, but he kept making sure I wasn’t going to fall and giving me pointers about where to step based on rock-slipperiness (is that a word?).

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“There were flowers and trees everywhere on top…”

After we finally made it down, we continued on. He showed me these indentations in the ground, and when we walked down them, the lower temperature difference immediately wrapped around my ankles. “This would be a grand place to sit and read in the summer time.” He just nodded his head. And at one point, because the rain made the ground rather soft and muddy, I ended up falling down. I shrugged it off like it was nothing, but I was so embarrassed. I don’t even know why.

It’s amazing how this hike resembles so much in my life. In the past few weeks I’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster. An unexplainable emotional roller coaster. My manager at work, though he never asked outright what was wrong but always hinted that he understood, described me as melancholy. The word rolled off his tongue like a ball down a hill. I was baffled that I was noticeably ‘not myself,’ because usually I hide any feeling other than happy deep inside me. In the past few weeks I tripped over a stumbling block. More than once I cried in front of my manager, apologizing, him handing me a tissue and talking me through it, making his typical sarcastic jokes to make me laugh.

In the end, despite how hard it was, and how sore I am now, it was wonderfully worth it, and I couldn’t help but be relieved to overcome something so trivial. In the end, it was just “one more step…one more step” until at last I made it to the top and eventually down again. Just like how the Jordin Sparks song goes, “Just take one step at a time, there’s no need to rush, it’s like learning to fly, or falling in love…it’s gonna happen, when it’s supposed to happen, and we find the reasons why, one step at a time.”

If you press on, on step at a time of course, you’ll eventually be able to climb over your mountain. But don’t give up because you’re tired, weary, and red-faced.

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Define Relationship

One of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to experience was right before the beginning of two summers ago, when my ex and I parted ways. Despite the fact that we were on a break for awhile before then, as I watched him drive away, a deep pain twisted my stomach like someone punched me. It was in that moment I knew that we would never be more than acquaintances ever again. Sure we talk when we see each other at church events, but neither of us go out of our way to have a conversation with one another.

It was hard. And to be brutally honest, I don’t even know why. In the end, there was nothing but constant fighting and emotional drainage. I was jealous of his time he barely gave to our relationship. I was jealous of all the girls he would secretly talk to when I would be sitting there wondering why he wasn’t responding to my messages, and I was hurt that he would talk about me behind my back to these girls not only telling them lies, but bashing on some of my personal medical issues. Not that I was perfect either. In the end I probably could have tried harder; I felt justified in giving nothing because I felt like I was getting nothing.

That summer, though it was painful and lonely, it was probably one of the most rejuvenating summers yet. For the first time in a long time I discovered who I was as a person. I learned what kind of qualities I look for in people—whether it be a friend or partner. And my true friends revealed themselves.

Since my breakup I’ve embraced the whole single status. It’s fun. I can go out with friends and not have to worry. I can go days without having to text or call a specific person and not have to worry. But it’s also lonely. I see many of my friends getting engaged. I watched two of my friends get married a couple months ago, and I have two more friends getting married in about a month. I’ve also been browsing Facebook and see so many posts about expecting. There are days where I ask myself “what am I doing wrong?” I wonder if there is someone out there this exact moment wondering the same exact thing. I question if God’s plan in my life includes me finding someone special.

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog about living life with the “single” status, and how even in the end if that’s what I’m meant to do then so be it. Granted, I would love to find a special someone, but I think that even if I didn’t, I could be happy. Because my purpose in life isn’t to get married and have children (goodness, I’m at point in my life where I don’t even know if I want children), my purpose in life is about serving Him and bringing others to Him.

Relationship is defined as, “an emotional or other connection between people.” I had this relationship with this person, while my relationship with God was diminishing. Into a line. A thin, thin line. I started skimping (yes that’s a real word) on my prayer life. I avoided subjects about faith or God, because I was afraid that someone would know and say, “Hey, you aren’t even that religious.” Oh sure. It was easy to continue to dress and look all “churchy” but it was hard to utter the simple phrase, “Thank you, Jesus.” One of the easiest goodbyes I was experiencing was saying, “Bye” to Jesus. The One I shouldn’t have been waving off.

When I finally bid goodbye to the person in my life that was hindering my relationship with God, that’s when He started mending my heart. The healing process was beginning. And honestly, I’m still healing. My heart still has stitches on it from where the words of my ex slashed into me. Even though I do feel the depths of loneliness more often than not, I know that it’s not in my best interest to have someone in my life at the moment. Because I’m still learning and growing with Him.

In the end of my relationship, it wasn’t love that I felt, it was numbness and convenience of having someone. I wasn’t giving because I wasn’t getting. Loving someone is about giving your best and not expecting anything in return. And if two people love each other, they’ll give consistently as much as they will receive consistently.

In the end, I was just settling because I felt like I wouldn’t have anyone. And that’s something that no one should ever do. Settling because one is afraid of living the rest of their lives partner-less is probably one of the least satisfactory things in life. One of the best things I’ve ever been told is, “There are worse things than being single, and that is being in a relationship, and wishing you weren’t.” So maybe for now, I’ll keep my relationship status as, “Single, but still hopeful, but not too hopeful, more like a casual hopeful. But also okay if I’m forever single.” Don’t ever settle for less than what you’re worth. Because you are worth MORE than gold.

Lemons aren’t always sour

Tonight, of all nights, was the first time, in a long time, where I felt good about things, despite the sour lemons that were being squeezed in my paper cuts. You probably scoff and think, “You? Why? Your life is perfect…You have so much going good for you.” And I will roll my eyes so much at those little thoughts it’s a surprise I still have eyes in my eye sockets.

Let’s talk. Real talk. I’m not perfect. I’m far from it. So far, in fact, that I’d have to walk 500 miles or more to get there. I’m human. I can’t talk as fast as my mind works. I forget to put on deodorant more often than I should. I practice “no-shave-November” for 6 months out of the year. I can’t speak in front of crowds. I forget to pay my phone bill on time     basically every month. I laugh at inappropriate times.

I’m sure right now, at least one of my friends who goes to church with me is reading this and probably thinking I’m backsliding or that I’m letting Jesus slip out of my life. Which maybe I am, but to me I’m still holding onto him tighter than ever. I’ve been praying just as much, and sometimes more, because I know that when these thoughts get to me that that’s not His plan for me.

Anyways, so let’s bring this to today. The day where 37 lemons have been sliced and squished onto my wounds (maybe not quite 37…but definitely more than one). The day where I woke up with the thought “Oh snap. I gotta get going to go help my friend Taylor*” as I quickly fumbled off my friends couch to get changed and head out the door. My ‘faithful’ car (he’s not been faithful lately) and I were to head to jump start her car. Which we did successfully (praise God). We managed to get her car to work where we took my car to the town over to run a few errands before Taylor worked at noon. I managed to accomplish getting important matters done (like paying my phone bill and setting up a savings account      go me for adulting!).

Then after I got to the gas station, walked in without my wallet, which to my sigh of relief I just left in my car and not at the bank, I walked back to my car to start it and my heart sunk when it decided it didn’t want to start. It’s not the first time my car has done this, in fact it’s been happening quite often in the past 2 months where it will randomly just not start for me and I have to mess around with my battery cables a few times to get it to start. No such luck. Called my dad who thankfully only lives 2 minutes down the road (again praise God). We managed to roll it away from the gas pump where he pulled the cable off and discovered the soul reason my car has been having issues. I had called a co-worker to come and get me on her way in, which again praise God that she was willing to. I messaged one of my supervisors and was just kind of ranting about how I’m stuck but thankfully a co-worker was going to pick me up and noted how I just want to cry. He told me big girls don’t cry, which I threw in a short joke because I have vertical issues. He probably laughed because his wife is short.

No this isn’t where it ends. I’ve been working pretty much every day at work. Long, hard days. Overtime. And short selling myself on a 30 min break and just taking a 15 (enough time to eat and potty basically) because I know that it’s been so hectic and I feel bad. I’m tired. I don’t sleep much, because sleeping isn’t for adults apparently (haha, a funny joke that’s sadly probably true). I got to work 14 minutes late. I received my documented point sheet because I went home early sick a couple weeks ago. It was nonstop talking action from 1:14 until I punched out at 9:50. People are cranky because they’re mad we’re booked up this weekend or that our rates are “ridiculously too high” (which is understandable). And to top off the most sour lemon of all, my car, though my dad said he worked on it and got it to start every time he tried it, would not start for me after work (yes, I’m having it towed to a shop tomorrow morning T-minuus 7 hours).

But here’s where the lemons become a little sweeter. Despite the fact that I had a long day where I’m on the verge of tears throughout the day because I just want to go home and cry and binge watch some Forensic Files, despite the fact that I got screamed at multiple times by guests, despite that my life is so chaotic right now (I’m a hot mess, minus the hot part), my God is still good to me. You’re probably sitting there going “I can’t believe I just read about your boring, rotten day, and you’re gonna tell me that God is good despite the fact He allowed all that to happen to you?” Yes. Because, honestly had I not had my car break down I wouldn’t have called my dad, who I haven’t really seen or talked to in awhile. I wouldn’t have had such a long, good, much needed discussion with my good friend who went out to Denny’s with me, and drove me all the way home. I wouldn’t have had such a wonderful night, where I realized, for the umpteenth time that this is why I can’t or won’t give up on life, even though it sometimes takes a big stinky poo on me.
At Denny’s I ordered a burger but didn’t realize it would come with tomatoes on it (I do not like tomatoes eww!) and I also got seasoned fries despite that I ordered regular. I still enjoyed my fries and burger (after I picked them nasty tomatoes off). My friend Mary* made a comment about how even though I didn’t get what I ordered I still enjoyed my food and didn’t throw a fit about it, which made me smile. I realized she was right.

Life is like that. One certainly doesn’t order lemons, but on occasion they will get thrown out there. And sometimes sliced. And sometimes squeezed. And squeezed some more.Lemons are like that though. And right now, I know my life is chaotic but it will always get better. So what if I’m single, I can wait around for a bit yet for a good guy to come around (bless me if I do manage to find a guy). So what if I’m not the skinniest person, it just means I’ll work harder to lose weight. So what if I’m only 23-soon-to-be-24 and working at a job that I didn’t need a college degree for (honestly this job is a big blessing). If life ever went according to our plan it would be even more hectic. Goodness if I had my way I would haven been married awhile ago, probably to the wrong guy, and I’d have a child by now, which I’m not ready for. I’d have a job working in my degree field. I wouldn’t have met any of the friends that I have. If I had my way I probably wouldn’t be happy because a spoiled child never has enough and is never satisfied. If one always got their way they wouldn’t have to work hard to get something, which would make anything basically valueless because something “better” will always come. The mentality of “I didn’t have to earn this so who cares if it breaks.”

It’s such a cliche “when life gives you lemons make lemonade” but I like the thought of “when life gives you lemons and squirts all over your open wounds just add some sugar onto it and throw it in some sweet tea.” Because lemons don’t always have to be sour, they can be sweet too, and sometimes ya just gotta sit back, make the best of it, and enjoy.

Rambling thoughts from a midnight bird

I lay here in my bed. Staring in the darkness above me. My dog snoozes at the foot of my bed, his body tucked along the side of my leg. My blanket barely covers me as the thick layers of heat in my room makes it hard to be comfortable. I strongly dislike sleeping in heat. So many thoughts constantly playing across my mind. 

Recently, one of my dear friends was dumped after 3 years. Thrown out the window like a cigarette butt. And it’s been hard to see her so down in the dumps, because that’s exactly where I was just a short 2 years ago. There’s so much pain and heartbreak when you spend 3 years with someone and put your heart and soul into that person who literally is your best friend, to being nothing more than a mere acquaintance in the end. I feel like I can’t even be that great of a friend for her right now because I’m trying to figure out how to comfort her. At the same time I know that I can’t make her get over him, only time can do that. Relationships are hard. Breakups are harder. The struggles from either are the hardest. 

Today I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a kid who was a few years behind me in school had died unexpectedly on Monday. He was 19 going on 20 in a couple months. Nineteen. I don’t want to imagine how his parents and older brother are handling it (his brother graduated with me). 

As I was driving to work I had to take the long way because the main road I typically take had construction going on it right now. So it’s blocked off except to local traffic only. And I’d rather not mess with having to wait to try and measle my way through. There were detour signs pointing a way to go around it. Which made me think how long that detour was. Technically there were several backroads that would be a lot quicker, but those backroads are really curvy and sometimes you have to take a turn onto another road before you wind up on the main road you would need. But the detour signs pointed in the most straightforward way to get to that main road—down the highway and boom you’re there. But it’s so much longer, not only mile wise but time wise as well. It made me think how detours don’t necessarily show you the shortest way, but they bring you the most straightforward, logical way. If you were to try to take a “shortcut” you may wind up in the complete opposite way that you would want. But if you take that detour, the specific signs that point out to where you need to go, then you will find you destination indeed. 

I ended up falling for a man unexpectedly, and I thought he had feelings for me too (I mean he kind of told me several times he did). We became really good friends, and in the end he told me he thought it would be best if we just stayed friends. I had to hide the hurt and frustration I was feeling. And in the end, we’re still good friends. I’m over those feelings. And I think it was for the best anyways. But I still miss the thought of him liking me. I feel like everyone keeps saying “Oh, you’re young. You’ll find Mr. Right  when the time is right for you.” Yes. I’m young. I know. In due time, right? I keep telling everyone I don’t want to get married or have kids. Which is partly true. I’d love to get married…someday. But having children scares me more than it should. 

I can’t help but wonder why I wasn’t able to find a job on my field after graduation. I keep beating myself up saying it’s because I wasn’t willing to move anywhere else but my hometown. There’s so many rich opportunities (not rich like money wise but rich like as in an infinite amount) if I were willing to move to another town or out of state even. But I like My state. I like my town. I like my friends here. I like my church. I like my job and coworkers. As much as I ponder what would have happened had I stayed in Green Bay, I can’t help but feel happy to know that the life decisions I made were still as pertinent and blessed as well. 

I’ve become a huge night owl, and I stay up way too late. Writing. And thinking. And watching YouTube videos on facts about different things (like short documentaries). I hate it. I wish I could go to bed early and rise early. 

I recently applied for an apartment with one of my best friends. I think it will be a nice new adventure for me. I’m excited because they allow pets. And I think that despite that the non written rule is to not live with your best friend, that in the end we’ll be fine (but I am slightly nervous she may dislike me in the end). 

These are the many things that ramble inside my head as I try to wish sleep upon me. I pray to Jesus for my friends who are hurting. And often times I cry myself to sleep praying, because my heart has such a heavy burden for all my friends who are suffering now. 

I’m tired now. Finally. 

Dream Beaver

Today, over fifty years later, Martin Luther King Jr’s famous 1963 words can still be belted out, “I have a dream…” One may state them in a fashioned way to go hand-in-hand with something that they may want to see changed, or perhaps they are singing them because they admire the way King passionately spoke.

I, on the other hand, am repeatedly running those words through my head because I’m trying to conjure up some sort of long-term dream of mine, because I’m so unsure of what I want or where I’m going in life. Apparently in today’s society, it’s not okay to be a person who doesn’t know what they want, one has to have some sort of short term and long term goals. The montrosity. In high school I had to know if I wanted to go to college or not after I graduate; I had to know what I wanted to do if I wanted to go to college. At age 15 I had to make these important life decisions for my 18-year-old self.
“I have a dream…to go through college and become a pediatrician!” I said to myself at age 15, “I have a dream…to help children.”
At age 16 I dreamt of being married by 25. “I have a dream to be married by 25 and to have my first child by 27…”
At age 17, I boldly stated, “I have a dream…to go to bible college.”
Eighteen year old me was dreaming of a specific boy, and our future together. “I dream that we will become married once we finish college. I dream he’s going to be my forever.”

At age 20 I lost the dream of becoming a pediatrician, but aspired to become a writer.
At 21, I lost the dream of that boy and my future of being with someone. I dreamt of a lonely life being single.
At 23, my current status, I’m still trying to figure out what my dream is. I don’t know if it’s better to dream of moving up in my company, or moving onto a career geared more towards my degree.
At 23, I cannot boldly proclaim, “I have a dream…” or perhaps I can? What if my inner dream beaver came out.
Dream…beaver? Yes. To dream a dream, and actually put some work ethic into getting it built strong like a dam (beaver pun – ha!).

So I have to start building with a foundation. When beavers begin a dam they aren’t going to start with little sticks. NO! They are going to start with massive logs to make sure it’s strong and founded properly. They build up that dam with more strong logs, patching it up with mud, and as it is nearly completed that’s when they put the fillers in like any little sticks and more mud.

Building my dreams with a foundation starts with prayers, right? Because praying for a given situation not only puts one in the right mindset, it allows God to start putting those stepping stones down. “God I dream of yada-yada-yada…” Spoken words are powerful. A conversation between two cannot done without spoken words. If I were to go to my friend and think “Wow, I truly love your shoes” instead of saying it, they wouldn’t know because they can’t read my mind. Same concept, if I go to God without physically praying, my prayers aren’t going to be as effective.

Once that foundation is started I can start slapping on the mud and more logs. This is the continuation of that foundation. With a continuation in prayer and building up my faith, that foundation creates something whole and strong that can block the flow/influence of the strong tides that will rush towards that foundation to try and break it down. But here’s the thing, that strong dam will withstand those flowing waters as long as I keep like a beaver and continue to work it every day. I don’t know necessarily where God will take me, but if I keep dreaming and building, he’ll keep providing.

I don’t know how this conversation started out with Martin Luther King Jr and ended up being about how I can better myself by being a “dream beaver” but somehow it did. My writing does that at times, because quite often my fingers just have their own mind and type away at the keyboard. Anyways, catch ya’ll on the flip side. #bless

The Orange Flowers

The white moon glows bright tonight; its pale face glaring down through a cloudless sky. My feet make a shush sound as I tiptoe my way across the dew layered lawn, and I spread my quilted blanket out. The air is drenched in chilly fingers, but I refuse to let myself feel anything but numb, and clench my teeth tight as I stare up at the black space above. The stars wink back at me.

The first time we planted flowers I was five years old. I had begged you for weeks to buy me the orange flowers because orange was my favorite color. Every time we went to the store I pointed at the orange flowers that were purposely placed near the store-entrance to entice kids like me who loved flowers, and you’d shake your head and say, “No, Little Chicken. Not today.” And I’d pout my lips and cross my arms for the next five minutes and stomp my feet as we continued on, until we would go down a random aisle and I’d see some other orange thing that peaked me interest. The final day I asked, we went through our usual routine, but then at the end we went back to the front of the store and you told me to pick my favorite one. So I picked the biggest ones I could find. They costed $4.72. 

We went home, and you took me to where you kept the gardening tools and shovels. “Little Chicken, there’s more to flowers than what you see,” and you handed me a garden claw and trowel, and you grabbed a shovel. We carried these tools to an area in front of the house that was secluded off with a brick line, and was overrun with grass and weeds. You began digging in the mess, and that’s when you taught me two important lessons: the first was about God, the second was that nothing get’s done without hard work.

“We have to first get rid of these weeds because if we don’t, then we can’t plant these beautiful flowers. We can’t just pull out enough where the flowers will go, because then the weeds would choke out the flowers and the flowers will die.” You continued to dig up massive globs of dirt held together by the roots of the weeds. 

“You have to shake the dirt out. To do this you need to grab a hold of the base of the weeds and start shaking slowly, as more dirt falls out then you can start shaking harder to get more out.” You say this as you show me how to do it. 

“Why can’t you just shake really hard at first?” I question. You smirk, as if you’d knew I’d ask that. “Well Little Chicken, because if you shake too hard at first, then the weeds break off and you’re just left with a massive ball of dirt and roots and then it’s really hard to get the roots out. Now you try.” And I grab one of the globs you dug up and shake it like you showed me. 

“We shake the dirt out because that’s the good stuff we want to use for our flowers. We get rid of the weeds because that’s obviously the bad stuff. Sometimes God does this to us. We all have weeds in our lives, nobody is weed-free. And those weeds take root in our lives. When we’re ready to allow flowers to take root in our lives instead of weeds we allow God to start digging at us, and to start pulling those globs of weeds out of our lives. At first, He is gently shaking them out a little at a time and then He will shake us more vigorously, until at last the weeds come out and all that remains is the foundation that we need for a beautiful flower to blossom out of.”

We continued on, you digging and stopping every once in awhile to help me shake the dirt out of the weeds. After three hours, we finally finished weeding and planting and watering the flowers. It’s one of the few memories I’ve cherished as I grew up, because although you could have done something in an hour, you chose to spend three hours on it to teach me a valuable lesson, one of the many you taught me throughout the years. 

I can’t help but think of those flowers now as I look up at what He created, and wonder what lesson I was supposed to learn after you took your own life. Too many questions and not enough answers ring inside my head, but the stars don’t provide any answers.

“You got my attention, if that’s what You want,” I say between chattering teeth. A breeze brushes my face that has a sweet aroma of flowers. Tears of shame and anger glide down the side of my face, I’m full of frustration because I know you’ll never come back.

“You never taught me how to be strong from a death, and that’s not fair,” I say in hushed voice.

The orange flowers grew back the following year, but years later they eventually died because I stopped tending them as I grew older. You never yelled at me, nor told me it was my fault, but I knew that deep down inside it pained you to see the mass of weeds overtake the arrangement that we worked so hard on. Eventually, you went through and planted Daisies and orange Tulips; they still grow there. 

It suddenly hits me, the day you took your life was your final lesson for me: life is too short to waste. Life is too short to live in the shadows. And even though you never fully allowed God to remove some of the weeds in your life, it’s important for me to live life to the fullest. Sometimes God speaks to us in mysterious ways, and even though I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again, I know what I have to do while I’m here on Earth     plant flowers.