When the stranger shows up

I had an amazing weekend. Friday night a last minute decision for date night with hubby.. dinner and a live show “Get the Led Out” a Led Zeppelin inspired band. Awesome time, delicious food, great music.

Saturday morning a heart pumping slightly painful #cko #tullytime workout.. felt a little twinge in my hamstring during a roundhouse kick. Still a bit tender. Then off for a soul-filling afternoon love fest with our beautiful grandsons, capped with a night of mediocre bowling filled with laughter and then to the couch, under my blanket to watch a happy/sappy Hallmark movie.

Sunday morning, I was up first. It’s early. I sit alone in my quiet peace in the dark, drinking in the scent and taste of my coffee. I curl up on my couch and feel the warmth of my blanket, I open my bible app and am captured by the words on a page. Content, looking forward to church with music and my first sunset hike of 2023 and then it happened. My body began to tense up and this vibration/sensation began to fill and overtake my body. I tried to fight the feeling but it is too strong and just like that the stranger appeared. Queue Billy Joel……

I heard stirring coming from the bedroom down the hall. My body shudders. I sighed. Ok, ok, just don’t speak to me. I think, I don’t want to speak. If I speak I will get stuck in this place where I currently reside and I don’t want to stay here any longer. It’s too late. I get a cheerful good morning and all I can muster is a barely audible hey.

So as not to make matters worse, I hid away in my office, turned on my youtube playlist for funky moods and wrote down my thoughts. I am hopeful I can begin my escape from this place where I had retreated. I stayed there until it was time to go to church.

The cool brisk air and sunshine hit my face and my shoulders dropped ever so slightly. Found a pew with “room” and sat and prayed.. The organ began, I instinctively sing, soft and tentative, raspy and searching. Time for the gifts, the organ begins again, it is one of “my songs” which inevitably shows up when I need it. I am finding my footing. I am able to smile and wave peace be with you. By the end of mass, the mask is still there, but it is loosening up. After church, I run to ShopRite and an old man strikes up a conversation with me. He asks are you Italian – I say yes. He says I can tell. I ask how. He says your nose? My nose? Yes, it is Roman. And I say interesting. He says it suits you, Roman – you like to roam.. Hmm.. Weird, but true. I smile, it is real.

Came home and packed up my hiking gear and headed out… one by one I saw my friends and greeted them and with each hello, a tiny piece of me returned. I don’t think they knew what I was carrying on my heart still or if they had any idea that for a split second I thought maybe I didn’t want to drive an hour and hike. Maybe I wanted to just spend the afternoon on the couch, but I knew that if I did that, I’d be lost all day.

Off we went; 16 of us up that rocky trail, chatting and urging each other on. I saw my first heart. I knew it was going to be ok. The first mile was not steep but very rocky, then we hit the scrambles, which are my favorite part.. up and up and up we went.. the more I hiked, the more I found myself appearing.

We got to a spot on top and took a group photo shot, then off we went again a little more scrambling and climbing and then we arrived.

Though I was feeling better, I was still a little disconnected. The sun set, one friend thought of descending a little early to tackle the climb down, in my condition, I seriously considered it, until our mountain boss/sunset queen said are you crazy.. the best hasn’t happened yet.

So we stayed and all glory to God, that was what I needed. That was what released me from the space I had hidden myself. That was where the spirit had been in hiding and was anxiously waiting for me. I wanted to cry, but I don’t cry in front of people, very rarely. Instead, I laughed and smiled and cracked jokes and posed for pictures and turned to take it all in by myself for a moment. I said a little prayer and let it wash over me. Unbeknownst to me, this picture was taken at that very moment. It is everything.

When it was really time to leave, my body was tingling once again but in a totally different way. I felt healed and loved and truly blessed. As we descended the mountain, the moon began to rise and kissed us goodbye. Until next time.

One thought on “When the stranger shows up

  1. Oh, my… what a powerful sharing.. and the closing photo.. was gorgeous and ever so powerful.
    Thank you for sharing… I can see you and the grands… and it makes me smile.
    Wishing you well, always and forever.


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