I was describing to a friend my walk since my husband, John’s death 20 months and my belief that moving on with life is getting up every day, facing what comes and accepting what was is no longer. In meeting life on life’s terms, we can either go kicking and screaming or muster as much grace as possible or throw our hands in the air and let out a “Weeeeee” as we ride the twist and turns, ups and downs. I have done all of the above and continue to oscillate between them. But I keep showing up, standing tall, whispering to myself: HERE I AM. And loving each day and living it all.
John’s band of brothers took me on an adventure to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – a place I had never been but where John (known as “Buck” to his friends) and the boys had snow mobiled and ridden four-wheelers for years. From the moment we hit the road, the bantering began. We told story after story and took every opportunity to tease and give each other a hard time. The weight of the world lifted with each cackle and belly laugh as a constant stream fueled the weekend. I had entered a fun zone that transported me into an innocence lost, an openness to play and enjoying the simple yet sacred exchange of friendship.
The next thing I knew with a helmet and riding jersey on, I was strapped into a side by side all-terrain vehicle with bars over the top and the sides to protect me from falling out or from the collisions with brush and trees. These guys only know one speed: FAST. Pedal to the metal, we took off. I was terrified and simultaneously exhilarated, closing my eyes and breathing deeply before surrendering to the joy of life outside the confines of my box. Gripping the steering wheel with all my might and letting out a thunderous “Weeee,” life showed me more of who I am as we explored the forest for new paths, jumped over ravines, splashed in muddy creek water and banged into trees.
These men familiar to me in their “roles” as business owners, husbands and fathers transformed into teenaged boys before my eyes, completely present in their bodies as they rode their four-wheelers with great force and even greater delight, cutting through the bush and turning on a dime as one road ended and another began. I could see John riding right there beside them and thanked him for his legacy of fun and friendship. What a cool surprise that they awakened my inner teenaged boy, enlivened by the fear and the muck caked on my face and clothes.Arriving home, we shared hugs and said our goodbyes yet we were connected as never before. We had met new parts of ourselves and each other. On the other side of this journey, I am no longer just Buck’s wife and they are no longer John’s friends. What a wondrous life this is.
Meditation: Do you have preconceived ideas about who you are that limit the joy of your life experiences or are you open to the surprises?
Action: Do something out of your comfort zone that inspires you to put your hands in the air and let out a “Weeee.”