Vitality

I think I expected college to transform me into some greater version of myself, to wake me up and revitalize me and just generally embolden me.

And while college changed me and grew me, it wasn’t in those ways that I had expected.

This blog is as close to a chronicle of those changes as anyone’s going to get, short of standing me up next to my past self and marking down all the differences between us, and I think it bears pretty clear testimony to the fact that the last three years have left me tired.

Tired and ready to run.

The funny thing is that I didn’t even come to Mackinac with the intent to run from what was hurting me. I just came because I needed a job and thought I wanted an adventure and liked horses.

Yet Mackinac has proven to be a more rejuvenating retreat than I could have known to request, if I thought to request a retreat at all. And it’s also a strange place to feel so deeply revitalized, because this isn’t your traditional mountain-top spiritual hideaway.

I am working long hours with people who, while kind, do not share my faith. There are no pastors daily pumping me full of well-considered interpretations of scripture or guitarists inviting me to join them in songs of faith-fueled praise.

Even so, I am more at peace than I have felt in a long time.

Possibly because Michigan air is easier to breathe.

Which I mean a little bit literally, because I grew up on Bakersfield air so dirty that you can chew it up, spit it out, and build a sooty sandcastle out of it. But metaphorically too.

Life itself feels more abundant here.

Even after nearly three weeks I find myself still silently gasping in delight when I catch sight of Lake Huron as I round the corner to stage along the point, still nearly laughing aloud when I pause to consider the fact that I am holding the lines to a team of horses the same way that my ancestors did.

Lately I laugh a lot.

And if you know me, you’re probably smiling because that’s what you expected. But if you’ve known me during school, when the trying to juggle classes and people and fear and exhaustion have transformed me into a snarling disaster of a person, then you might begin to guess how refreshing it is to laugh.

People smile at me because I am always smiling. They chuckle because I dash at new tasks with such enthusiasm, even though I’m tired and kind of just want to go home. And their amusement brings me more joy, which only increases the infectiousness of my laughter.

I truly do feel as though I’m breathing easier. As though life were painted in brighter colors than it was before.

Contentment and restfulness bring a certain vibrancy to the world.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t feel particularly well-rested. Even today, on my day off when I’ve slept in and napped and generally relaxed all day long, I am yawning with exhaustion before I’ve even eaten dinner.

Nonetheless, these few weeks in Michigan have brought me a certain level of restfulness.

There’s been heartache, too, and my tears have mingled with my desperate begging to the heavens for explanation of things I can’t understand.

But through it all, this peace. This knowledge that I am both where I’m supposed to be and where I want to be. And this almost audible song of celebration coming from everything around me.

I really don’t know how else to describe it, and kind of feel like I’m chasing my tail now as I try to explain.

It’s as though I’m alive again.

As if a person I’d long forgotten how to be is emerging from the storm of the past few years, and she hasn’t forgotten how to be bold or courageous or outgoing. (She has forgotten how to love to run and be active, but we’ll cross the exercise bridge some day in the maybe-never future.)

All that said, I am eager for this summer to end if only to end the torture of the crazy-early mornings. While I have settled into the routine of awakening at 5:30 every morning, I still don’t like it. And every morning I get a little closer to clinging to my pillow and sobbing at the thought of being parted from it.

I guess I don’t have much energy left for a well-worded conclusion. It’s taken long enough to just achieve anything like sense on this page.

My heart-song doesn’t much want to be translated today.

Anyway. Life is an adventure, and I’m so happy to be living this chapter of it. Feel free to come visit and write yourself in.

– Melissa

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. /Psalm 19:1-4a/

Why do we associate Leap Day with frogs?

So, funny story:

I’ve been celebrating Leap Day for months.

Like, literally.

Because anything I jump off of something or into something or just up in the air for no reason at all, I like to shout, “Happy Leap Day!” because being exuberant about a day doesn’t just have to be constrained to the one out of four years when there are 366 days to be alive. (And Riley needs to get over himself, because the definition of ‘leaping’ isn’t as narrow as he says it is, and I can celebrate whatever I want whenever I want.)

That said, people today haven’t been very celebratory.

Through words and images on facebook and through their voices in-person, people have been complaining that, ‘why have an extra day if it’s just going to be another Monday?’

A) Mondays do not have to be the tragedy you make them out to be. (But I think that’s another post for another day.)

B) It’s not just this one Monday that having a Leap Day affects.

Tomorrow, it’s only going to be March 1st because tomorrow’s yesterday (today’s today) was Leap Day. No Leap Day would equal tomorrow being March 2nd. And even though I know we all want to rush into the Ides of March, isn’t it great to know that we have an additional day before we have to get a handle on March?

On December 31st, it will only still be the year 2016 because today was Leap Day. Now maybe 2016 will be kind of sucky for you. It happens. We all have a crummy year now and again (some of us have consistently crummy years, and sometimes that’s life’s fault and sometimes it’s just because we’re looking at life from the wrong perspective). But regardless of how life looks as we glance over our shoulders on December 31st, we’ll have an extra 24 hours to unpack and process it thanks to Leap Day.

Maybe I’m too much flowers-and-sunshine.

Or maybe I’ve just learned that leaping off of things is really fun (unless they’re too-tall things that cause injury to those who leap out of them, and then that’s not so fun because doctor’s offices are ick) and that life’s lemons are always just a good squeeze and a couple pounds of sugar away from being really great lemonade.

So Happy Leap Day 2016.

And also Happy Monday.

And also be Happy.

Because no day is accidental.

– Melissa
P.S. This is worth a moment of your time.