It never ceases to amaze me when I speak to people about prayers that their idea of prayer are the standard prayers we’ve learned in school or church. I love those prayers. They are very meaningful. But prayers are also conversations with God. At least for me they are.Many times, I am with friends and someone will poke me, ask if I am okay and I’ll respond that I was having a “God moment.” Those that know me, understand what that means: I was having my attitude of gratitude with God. Those that don’t get it, will just give me the hairy eye-ball and well, to that, I say, “move on, you don’t know what you are missing.”
My conversations with God have been the most precious thing that I own. It is mine. I do not have to share it with any one but when I do, it is a gift and if you know me, you know I love the act of giving. So when I share my conversations with God with you, know that it is a very precious gift.
I also know that there have been times when without meaning to have a conversation with God, he can choose to have one with me and such was the case very early this morning.
I have not done this in a very long while. In fact, it’s been at least 8 years since I’ve done this. The last time was when my mother was dying and I felt desperate. I felt as if I was choking and I woke up one morning, got in my car and drove to the beach. It’s not far from where I live. I parked until it was time for the sun to rise and walked to the shore. I cried, screamed and let the waves soothe my soul.
My mother went home a few days later.
Thank you God. She went home in peace.
And now this morning, with a reality I had to face, with sleep escaping me all night long, with a family nestled in their beds, I quietly got up, dressed warmly, got in my car and drove to the beach. It would only be an hour or so before the sun set anyway. I just had to get out of the house. I was choking again.
These past few weeks things had just begun to unravel. Too many things were falling out of sync. Some things are out of my control and those things are safely in Gods hands. God knows me. I’m okay questioning him. I no longer feel bad about asking why. I’m human. I know he’s okay with that. I know he knows I’m hurting. And I know when I put my fist in the air and tell him to take my husband’s pain away and do it now! He knows I’m not being nasty or rude or mean. I’m scared and hurting and well he just knows. I don’t ask for myself because well that’s just rude and selfish. And he already knows how I feel so why repeat all that stuff? But there are those certain things that you can see coming and you try to make sense of them and you can’t. There are people who are telling you that things are happening, they are telling you to wake up, get out-of-the-way, but you can’t because you won’t accept the fact that the people you have come to know, trust, and like would be anything less than what you thought they were. So you ignore the warning signs because they just can’t be real. And then they become real.
Then the sledgehammer meets you dead center at the same time that the other things in your life are gaining speed. And you know. You understand.
And your find yourself at the beach.
Now everyone knows I do not like sand, so if I am sitting on the sand, well you know my mind is not where my body is.
The waves rushing to the shore were most soothing. The tears slowly began to flow as the wind took them away. I began to mentally make a list of all the things that had occurred. Where did I go wrong? When did I stop paying attention? How did I not see it? Why didn’t I pay attention? And then I took a deep breath, exhaled and thought, I did see it all. I just didn’t want to accept it. I truly believed that in the end, the truth would prevail and that friendship and honesty would be the elements that would win.
But in the end it was all about self. It was all about self-importance. In the end, it wasn’t about friendship or honesty or even about truth. And we believed it was.
As I began to accept the reality of all of this and go over the conversations of some of my friends that we had shared earlier in the day, I realized that their intentions were heartfelt and I counted my blessings. I made another note to call them later in the day and thank them but also apologize to them for not seeing what was so obvious. But I had a decision to make. I don’t like not being friends with others. That’s so not me but I don’t like being a phony. However, once I understand what a person is all about, I don’t play their game but I can co-exist. I just have to figure out how to do it in the day-to-day existence and how to extract them from the personal part of my life and so that became my mission.
I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Are you okay?”
“Oh yes. I’m just enjoying the sunset.”
“Mind if I sit. I was going for a ride. Thought I’d enjoy the sunset too.”
Taking in the waves, breathing in the intoxicating ocean breeze, feeling the chilling air lifting the sand around us, I buried my toes into the sand. I hate the sand.
“I lost a friend yesterday.”
“I’m so sorry.” I said. It was now my turn to put my hand on their shoulder.
“It’s okay. I actually lost them a few months ago. I just let them go yesterday. It was time.”
I didn’t understand what that meant, so I looked out into the ocean.
“I know it sounds weird. But sometimes you have to let go of people in your life no matter how much you care for them. Sometimes they are toxic. Sometimes they are users. Sometimes they are phony. Sometimes they are just not who you thought they were and the disappointment becomes too much to bear. And when you have had enough, it’s time to let go and I let go yesterday and today, I’m sad but I’m kind of glad. It’s a new beginning and I no longer have to wonder if tomorrow I’m going to be used again or lied to or whatever!!! I’m free.”
(Insert exhale here)
“Wow!” I whispered. Was this for real. I actually looked around. You can’t make this stuff up.
“Did you lose someone?”
“No. Well, yes but not really. More like someones. But no. I haven’t let go yet. Not sure how. Not sure if there is any letting go to do. Not sure if they even care. I’m not even sure if there is anything to be concerned about. I do know that I cared more and I think that I’m the one being sad about this and knowing that it’s not affecting anyone but the folks that warned me is what’s probably the bad part here but after listening to you it kind of feels normal. But it’s a lot of other stuff. The beach is just peaceful. I need peaceful now. And I don’t like the beach.”
“Ha ha… I hate the beach too. But no one’s here and I love to hear the waves. It’s the white sound I have in my bedroom.”
We sat quietly for a few more minutes.
“Do you have any children.”
“I have two boys. I don’t see them often but when I do, they make up for lost time. So I’m grateful. You?”
“I have a daughter. I see her all the time. She lives with me. She’s a teacher. I’m grateful for all my time with her. I don’t know how I would handle not seeing her like you not seeing your sons. I’m such a wuss.”
“Oh trust me. I’m a bigger wuss. I miss it all too.”
“My husband is sick. So am I.”
We both looked at each other. Who said that? Did we both say that?
Staring at each other, eyes opened wide, tears flowing down our chins.
“He has the big C and I have MS. We are going to tell the boys this week.”
“He has 9 diseases, I have 5. I tell him it’s the first time in our marriage he has beat me at anything. But soon, I’ll be seeing some “specialists” so I just might be beating him after all.”
Staring at me confused, I tell her, “My husband was a 9/11 first responder and I was a recovery worker.”
“Thank you for your service. I cannot begin to imagine what you both saw. What you both lived. I’ve talked about it to my boys and my grandchildren but it will never be anything compared to the stories you both can tell. Thank you. I am so very sorry.”
And there it was. What my true friends had been telling me. My husband and I have lived a history so many talk about but have no idea what it truly is all about. But they have no problem being our friends when it is beneficial to them. And with that, someone I had never met, someone carrying their own cross to bear, knew what was in my heart, hugged me, watched the sun rise with me, hated the sand with me, cried with me and understood me. And it all became very clear.
Thank you God for this wonderful conversation.