Heavy loads and bright souls

heavy loads and bright soulsYesterday was pretty routine, like most Wednesdays are. The girls and I bounced between the dentist, gymnastics, a couple of grocery stores and the gym. And we made a pit stop at Chipotle for lunch. It was there that the day became memorable. I had a divine encounter. At Chipotle. For real.

I met a friend in line. Marina. She was new to Chipotle. And even at the age of 80+ willing to try something new. The conversation started over my girls’ hair, which happens to be a very popular topic of conversation with strangers. From there we talked about school, Marina’s kids, her love of dance, birth control (or lack thereof), life, heart problems, adventure and loss. Somehow we fit an hour long conversation into a 7 minute line at Chipotle. It was miraculous. Really.

As the conversation progressed, Marina told me the story of her migration from Poland to Holland to America. “We would still be in Poland if it weren’t for the war. And I’d still have my brother and daddy if it weren’t for that nasty Hitler.” Her brother and father were killed in one of Hitler’s camps. Her brother starved. Her dad perished in one of the gas chambers. She told me of own survival – her resilience amazed me. She was young and starving, eating what she could find on the ground. Chewing on rotting potatoes until her gums bled.

I listened with my arm around her back. She cried. We both did.

In the end she said, “Everyone has a pack to carry. This is mine.”

As we approached the assembly line, she nervously asked what she should order. I told her my favorite and she asked that I do the ordering for her. We inched our way through – lettuce, brown rice, black beans, chicken, etc, – with linked arms and teary eyes.

Marina thanked me. Perhaps for helping carry her load.

And I thanked her. For trusting me with her load. For deepening my connection with this world.

We hugged, wished each other love, grace and peace. It wasn’t until I sat down that I realized I forgot to order my own lunch. The wonderful encounter left its mark in a bright and eternal way.

Marina’s right – we all have a pack to carry. A load to haul. Some are heavier than others.

Us humans have the capacity to share our loads. We cannot carry the full weight for another, but we can lessen the load. And that matters. You know it does.

As Marina and I worked our way through the Chipotle line, I shared the weight of her load. I listened. I touched. I cried. It wasn’t for a great distance, but it was long enough.

Our short journey together was a gift. For both of us. Because as we dare to share the load of another, our connection within the web of this loving universe is tightened. Our bond with each other strengthened.

Most of us are fortunate to experience both sides – sharing and carrying. Both are life altering, transformative experiences. They’re the encounters that leave bright spots in their wake. My mind holds on to them tightly. And when I stumble upon a memory, I’m left in tears over the experience of connecting to the souls around me.

One memory sticks out for me. And I have yet to share it here, for no reason other than wanting context, but not finding any. Marina reminded me.

It wasn’t too long ago. While we were still living in California. I had a miscarriage. I was 2+ months into the pregnancy and we were all very excited. Including the girls. I was feeling good. We decorated our Christmas tree and dreamed of what the following year would hold for our family of five. Another stocking. Another darling babe on Christmas Morning. And then, one Monday things changed. I called my doctor. She told me to stay in bed and look for signs of improvement. There were none. I worried. I asked Reece and Vera, toddlers at the time, to help me out since I wasn’t feeling well and needed to stay in bed. I tried to hide my tears, but I knew what was happening. And I was completely devastated.

I asked my people to pray. And they did. But they also showed up. To carry my load.

The first friend came within the hour. She hugged me so tightly. She cried with me. She brought me lunch. And helped me put my kids down for a nap. She was sad with me.

A little while later, my dad came over and played with the kids while I went to the emergency room. Isaac met me there. We waited and cried.

After a visit to the emergency room, ultrasound and consultation with my OB, the news was confirmed. The pregnancy was over. Within an hour of hearing the news, I went out for a run. As I pounded the pavement with anger and sadness, a friend drove by. He had just talked with Isaac. He pulled his car over and waited for me to run by. He stood there with arms open. I stepped into his hug and he held me as I sobbed. He didn’t say anything. He just held me.

The days following were full of friends and family. They spent hours at my house, doing whatever the moment called for. Playing with my kids. Feeding us all. Hugging. Crying.

Carrying. And as sad as those days were, what I remember most is being held by other people. Held and loved.

That miscarriage was my pack to carry. It was so damned heavy. But I didn’t feel the full weight of it for long. No, my people took it up with me and made it bearable.

Those days, and the weeks that followed, were so rich. They reminded me how alive I feel when I’m tethered to the souls of others.

This mystical universe is a web of souls moving and flowing among each other. With each other. And to really live is to accept the invitation to dance. Whether we’re crossing over peaks or trudging through valleys. To listen. To hold. To love. To carry the pack of another. And to honor the bright souls among us by allowing them share our load as well.

Thank you. All of you who choose to dance. Who accept the invitation to authentically engage with the people you meet. With me.

Grace, peace and love.


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  • Reply
    04/14/2016 at 3:37 pm

    So touched by our open heart… both directions to love and be loved. Reading your blog is always a highlight in my day!

    • Reply
      04/14/2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you Jen. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. xo

    • Reply
      04/14/2016 at 3:39 pm

      You are a bright soul who I’m so lucky to have met.

  • Reply
    Kellie Berry
    04/14/2016 at 4:25 pm

    This is why we are here – to hold onto and serve one another in the hundreds of different ways were are being invited to.
    Thank you for the beautiful way you shared Marina’s story and how it is connected to yours.
    When I think of God watching you loving the way you did, I can hear him whispering “That’s my girl”
    Thank you


    • Reply
      04/14/2016 at 4:27 pm

      Thank you, bright Kellie gal. It’s such an honor when people like Marina dare to share their pack.

  • Reply
    Judi Barragar
    04/14/2016 at 7:01 pm

    That was so beautiful. You are a wonderful writer, I was drawn into your story and could imagine your encounter with Marina.
    I had multiple miscarriages, it was sad and made angry as well. My child is my greatest blessing and I know I will someday meet the souls that didn’t make it into my life.

    • Reply
      04/15/2016 at 8:23 am

      Hi Judi. Thank you for reading and the sweet words.
      Thanks for sharing your experience too. We certainly aren’t alone in this world. xo

  • Reply
    04/15/2016 at 2:48 pm

    Love you, friend. This brought tears to my eyes, both for Marina and for you. XOXO

    • Reply
      04/15/2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you for reading. And for your swift and true friendship up here in the PNW. xo

  • Reply
    Intentionally Fit Life
    04/18/2016 at 2:08 pm

    I’m not even sure how I found your IG and then it brought me to your blog…and now I find myself sitting here in tears while kids are napping after an exciting time at the pool. What a heartbreakingly beautiful experience you’ve written about. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing this with the world.

    • Reply
      04/19/2016 at 12:07 pm

      Hi there. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave a note. It’s such a pleasure to have a place to share experiences with a community… Even if we’ve never met. So thank you.

    • Reply
      04/19/2016 at 12:09 pm

      PS. Trying the check out your blog but there’s trouble. Are you still at http://www.intentionallyfitlife.com ?

  • Reply
    Kristina Kurtz
    04/26/2016 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you for beautifully writing your stories, and for sharing them with such grace. Sadness, like joy, can do amazing things in our lives. It’s such a blessing in this day to take this little bit of time and reflect on that… thank you!

    • Reply
      04/26/2016 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you for reading Kristina. You sure are a bright soul to so many of our little kiddos. Thank you.

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