Being a house-guest is a funny thing. It always promises an odd mix of awkward and fun. I’ve seen it go really wrong. Last weekend, I was visiting my best friend’s parents in Jackson Hole, Wyoming….she and I never go out at the same time. Mostly b/c we like undivided attention and love – we used to chalk it up to scheduling – but now we just admit it, which is better for us all. She’s very generous in lending them to me. 

 

i digress

 

this time, being a house-guest, proved to be a bit shocking – in all of the right ways. 

 

It so happens that right now, I am facing an insurmountable set of transitions – starting grad school, potentially resigning from my job, maybe moving to a new city , milestone birthday, moving on after a relationship fell apart, and on and on.

 

I had been in 6th gear for about five months – I didn’t want to think about it, or moreover, I couldn’t…I just had to keep going to get through it all and the best way I knew how to do that was to just keep going.

 

Needless to say, when my plane sunk into the Teton-shadowed runway, I was tired. 

 

The first night I arrived (a Thursday) I didn’t sleep very well, because new places always feel different and when it isn’t your house there’s always that sense of fragility.  Friday came early and was nauseatingly idyllic.

 

I loved it.  

 

I wasn’t raised in any sort of normal family dynamic, so i eat up days like this.  I went to the local art fair  w/ mamma Janet while papa Bob stayed at home to work….we reconvened for lunch, went for a nice bike ride, and headed home for dinner.  

 

Their house is one of those where the kitchen, living room, and breakfast room are all kind of one room, so after we got home, i jumped in the shower, threw on some track pants, and perched on the couch.   Chatting away w/ mama…as she was walking in and out – going to her room to get ready for the symphony that night – the conversation waned and my eyes got heavy….somewhere in twilight, hearing bob set the table and janet mix the salad, I realized I don’t do this.

 

I don’t fall asleep on other people’s couches. 

 

I’m a guest – I need to be awake, to be on, to earn their love and be so funny, smart, insightful, and dynamic that they can’t help but love me and think “man, we really want her to be a part of our lives forever”

 

But I slipped slowly into a restful sleep on that butter leather couch (which I might add is nowhere as comfy as the black ones in their old house in Florida).

 

Who does that?  

 

I trusted them. I trusted them in the intimacy and vulnerability of sleep. I don’t know how long I was out – probable not long – we were late and they were hungry…mama janet leaned over, kissed my forhead and said “time for dinner!” 

 

Somewhat groggy, my eyes opened to see a beautifully set table.  Where’d this come from? 

 

Why did this come?

 

I didn’t earn this.  I was useless.  I wasn’t charming or delightful…

 

 

I was just me, exhausted, asleep on a couch, contributing nothing, saying nothing

 

and afraid of nothing.

 

I was safe – my personhood was safe, my standing in their lives was safe.

 

Do you have any idea how incredible it feels, when you are exhausted, to have a moment where you can close your eyes, rest your head, and fall into the safety and protection that comes with knowing you don’t have to do or be or give anything to be welcome and loved and acceptance?

 

now i do…

real mail

July 28, 2009

I got “real mail” today, a thank you note actually.  It was hand-written, stamped, addressed, the whole nine…

Until it arrived to my office, buried between subscriptions and advertisements, I had forgotten the power of a simple piece of paper. 

The card came from a dad-type, not my actual father, but in terms of love, acceptance, and guidance, this pseudo-dad fits the billing of the  kind of great man every girl should have in her life.  It was a simple note.  Blue-ink on card stock, scribbling gratitude for a silly something I gave them – acknowledged on both sides to be half selfish.  

but one thing stuck out.  

We love you.  

Written. 

W-e  l-o-v-e  y-o-u

stupid little nothing curves and lines given meaning by people long since dead and ascribed to my brain as meaningful during formative years i can barely recall.  

but the meaning never comes from the curves or the lines, it comes from what they represent. 

his hand, at his desk, in his office, with his time – his wife – who gives the kind of hugs you can sink into – standing over him…he carved those lines and curves

We love you represents even more than the circumstances surrounding the scrawl.

you see, for over a decade or so now, they’ve seen the messy, the complicated, the sick, the hilarious, the goofy, the awkward, the unrelenting, the esoteric sides of me – they’ve not just seen them, they’ve been affected by them.  

And they love me.

not pithy words breathed into existence in passing embrace leaving an airport or before clicking “end” – but written, solid, inked.

i. am. loved.  

all of me.

and if i forget – i can look at it again