Downpours flooded SoCal streets yesterday, but all had mostly dried up by mid-morning today. This meant I was unconcerned when I set out for a meeting.
Trouble struck when I tried getting onto the freeway. Turning sharply onto the ramp that’d deposit me on the freeway 20 or so feet below, I found my car suddenly floating just above the road. My steering wheel did its own thing.
First, my car veered right toward foliage. I didn’t dare try countering the pull, because I felt like flipping was inevitable.
The car then veered left, taking me precariously close to the thin metal barrier that kept me from tumbling down onto the road below. I kept my hands poised above the steering wheel, ready to seize it when it seemed ready to respond to my touch (without flipping my car).
I managed to miss the barrier by a few inches and steer myself safely down the ramp. My heart raced as I drove northward and contemplated the possibility of different outcomes.
The next 30 minutes, I found myself appreciating with new clarity how tenuous is the connection between tire and road. Every skid and shudder had me on alert.
Ultimately, I made it safely to my destination. My return trip was pleasant. Now, safe at home, I’ll be content to drive nowhere else this long weekend …
In 2004, I experienced my first typhoon in a small coastal town on Japan’s main island, Honshu. I filmed myself standing in the middle of a street while everything shook and swayed around me.
All was silent and still in the eye of the storm. I couldn’t believe the winds would soon whip around me again, but they did. I howled with them when they returned. The windy days I’d loved at home were nothing compared to this.
I enjoyed my later typhoons, too, but none invigorated me the same way my my first one did.
Today, an ocean and a dozen years removed from my first typhoon, I look out my SoCal windows and see the trees thrashing in the wind. The wind rattles my home’s windows, slamming sheets of rain against them.
I don’t know what it is about the wind, but I have always loved it. I will always love it. This wind-advisory afternoon, I’ll snuggle up with my husband and my little boys, content in now … but also remembering the thrill of being one small body standing strong against ferocious winds.
I see you. I see some of the hundred difficult situations you’re juggling. I see how you berate yourself when you drop any one ball for even a second.
In case it helps lighten your load, I want to share a little of what I see.
Faced with some challenging parental situations, you are facing them right back. You’re not minimizing or deflecting them, but doing everything you can, despite exhaustion, to usher your kids into a future that will be good to them.
You work hard, smart, and kind. You understand when you need to adapt and you do the work, undaunted by complexity or hurdles.
Your enormous heart finds ways to give and share every day. I mean this: every day. You are always looking out for the people around you, sometimes to your own detriment. You deserve your own compassion at least as much as the people around you do.
You make people laugh. You have great insights and perspectives, which brighten conversations and, heck, entire days.
You’re candid. You show what’s good and what’s bad, making it less lonely to be human in a world so full of illusions of perfection.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Think of it as a (lunch break) start!
Please step out into the sunshine, lift your face to the sun, and take a second to marvel at everything beautiful you do and are. It’s a lot.
I see you, and you are magnificent.
I hope you see it, too.
P.S. Think of the ponies!
Today I got a blood-chilling text message. For privacy reasons, I can’t get into its details.
What I can say is that, in the moment of seeing such a message, everything superfluous falls away inside. Even if the outside world demands interaction, that’s all done on auto-pilot.
Heart, mind, soul, all turn toward what’s most important: each other.
All’s well, happily, but I have a favor to ask of you. Please call or text someone you love right now just to let them know how much you love them. I’d be so grateful.