Posted by: alegra22 | May 28, 2011

irrevocable nature

When the phone call comes I am crouched on a chair, typing one-handed while I chat with a childhood friend, my other hand serving as a vice-grip to my skull. The dull ache that’s been chasing me through the week has finally sunk its teeth into my weak spot; a nasty little neck muscle that’s held a grudge against me since the day I jumped off a bridge into the Russian River. I still remember standing on the wrong side of the guard rail, the sky stretching above me, the murky green water below. As I stepped away from the edge, determined to prove that boys weren’t the only ones dumb enough to hurl themselves from great heights, I inhaled a moment full of suspension, quiet, and the irrevocable nature of my decision. And then I hit the surface of the water at the wrong angle. The impact shot up through my body and lodged itself in my neck. The lesson is now a permanent part of my musculature: Stubbornness and Pride should not be allowed to get together and come up with Great Ideas.

I climb down off the chair, my head pounding, and answer the phone. It is Dan. Halfway to Hamilton, the van started acting up. I can hear the children in the background. I think about all of them being stranded in the darkness. We have a quick exchange about the situation and then hang up the phone so that he can get back on the road. As I return to my position on the chair, pain branching beneath my skull, I think about how I admire my husband’s character. In the same situation, I would have been crying, cursing the van, shaking both fists at the sky. Eventually, I would have settled down and dealt with the business at hand, but not before an impromptu opera expressing my suffering. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of Dan’s qualities woven into Zaviera and it fills me with love for both of them. When something goes wrong, more often than not, Zaviera shrugs her shoulders and says good-naturedly, “It’s okay, it doesn’t matter.” 

The conversation with my friend continues, turning from shared memories to reflecting on the way that even back in fourth grade, we were already showing signs of who we are today. My friend points out that the human body regenerates itself completely every eleven years, so we are almost two and a half times completely different people than when we were as kids. But what strikes me as I log off the chat is that while we have grown and lived lifetimes there is a quality that I still recognize in people I’ve reconnected with from my past.

This discussion of nature makes me reflect on the things I’ve held as true in my life. There are only a few certainties that have been with me since childhood: I believed in God and I believed in Purpose. I met God in my dreams, before I learned about religion and the damage it can cause to the human spirit. I believed then, and I believe now, that each of us has a unique purpose. I don’t think these gifts are full of grandeur like we might expect. I suspect the quieter they are, the more powerful — discovered in those small pockets of joy and peace handed to us without a great unveiling.

The first time I sat down and talked with Dan, it was during an exercise consultation at the university gym. I walked away from that hour and knew he was a good man.

A few months after that meeting, I saw Dan standing outside an Indian restaurant and ditched my girlfriends because I was so intrigued by that ‘something good’ I sensed in him. We spent the night talking about faith, the lessons of our past, our hopes for the future. I watched a smile line at the edge of his mouth and surprised myself with the thought, “I am going to watch that line grow over the years.” We parted one another’s company, emphasizing that we would be great friends. Six months later, he proposed to me.

My certainties in life have been few and powerful. When I met Dan, my list grew from God and Purpose, to certainty that I could spend the rest of my life loving my husband’s nature. I knew we would have children together — I began to see them in my periphery, glimpses of movement in the backseat of the car, laughter tumbling out and fading as I turned to face it head on – before I became pregnant with Sol, I told my mother I felt hounded by these unborn children.

Falling in love with Dan was the most effortless edge I have ever stepped away from. I broke the surface and slipped into my life with him. I found myself surrounded by all the things I had spent years searching for.

Eight years after that night outside the restaurant, I’ve come to believe we are born with an irrevocable nature. It doesn’t change so much as it grows, unfolds, becomes more of itself. We struggle or thrive, add to or subtract, but we contain within us everything we need to find our way home.

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Responses

  1. my home I have found in you Esposa.

  2. Love, love, love. 🙂

    I was talking to a friend recently who was expressing her nervousness about marrying her fiance. I was trying to be comforting and tell her that nervousness is perfectly normal (and it is, I think), and she said “I bet you were nervous marrying Milo. You barely knew him.” I felt terrible telling her “No, it was the simplest, most natural decision I ever made.” It’s amazing what a blinding flash meeting the right person can be, if you’re open to it.

    • Emily,
      It was the same for me – honestly, I was pretty ready to say ‘yes’ about a month after we met – but that place buried deep in my heart/mind, knew it from the first time we spoke. My brain registered it as, “Uh oh Alegra, we’re in big trouble here! Everything is about to change (in the best possible way)…” 🙂

  3. I love your expressions in this photo which go along perfectly with what you are writing about, especially with Dan’s ‘knowing’ smile. I love how Zaviera is already so wise and at ease with how things are. I think we in general, most people, but specifically myself, get caught up in a whirlwind of just plain old freaking out. I’d be the same way with the van. I’ve been all up in a worry myself about things lately, but things are what they are and like you say, we unfold as we will and so does what is going on around us. It all works out in the end. One obstacle or another is just steering us toward our intended path. In the end it evens out. You know that video/song I just posted on fb? It’s a song ‘Save Your Day’ but I love the line ‘We’re still young’ he sings at the end. It just kind of rolled a peace over what I have been so concerned about lately.

    • Jennifer,
      Something about watching my children and being surrounded by so much love – not just in my immediate family but with my friends, near and far, has really driven home the truth of this from the Desiderata:

      Beyond a wholesome discipline,
      be gentle with yourself.
      You are a child of the universe
      no less than the trees and the stars;
      you have a right to be here.
      And whether or not it is clear to you,
      no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

  4. Thanks for those words, loved it. Will have to look up Desiderata now! That St Augustine piece you wrote, I loved it. Have it printed out and on my desk at work. And on my fb :O) I actually ‘intend’ to read City of God at some point this summer.


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