Monthly Archives: March 2012

Healing Rain

Dreary. Doldrums. Blahs. Boredom. The words meandered through my mind as I went out for my run this morning. It’s been raining. A lot. It feels like non-stop. I didn’t want to be out there. My feet were heavy, crashing against the asphalt as I plodded along. I wanted to crumble, cower, curl up. Anything but run. One foot in front of the other, I made my way to the middle school. I slowed to a walk. I stopped, sat down on the cold, wet curb and cried. Sobbed, really.

Last Easter was my dad’s final trip to the Northwest. It feels like a mountain of memories that I must climb, knowing what waits on the other side. We had family photos taken, followed by a delightful barbecue with friends. Dad was conversational, jovial, in his element. We took a trip out to Mukilteo beach, enjoying the sunshine, and ate Chinese food back at their hotel. He sat and had a mocha during our church’s Easter service.

All of his favorite things.

Sitting on the curb, I begin to pray.

First, a statement.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this.

A slight shift.

I can’t do this.

And then a question.

Can you please carry me through?

I imagine Jesus throwing me over his back, carrying me, as I begin this climb, another stop along the journey.

I watch the water flow like a stream, down the gutter and under my knees, the sound of raindrops on my nylon hood.

Can you please carry me?

I stand to head for home, slowly starting my run again. I don’t feel quite so heavy on the return trip. There might even be a spring in my step.

My prayer is already answered.

I am already being carried.

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Go Grammas!

Two times a week, we visit the Ladies’ Locker Room at one of our local indoor swimming pools so my three-year-old son can get decked out for his Tadpole lesson. While there are preschool-aged children, high school athletes or moms with toddlers showering and changing, those apparently aren’t the ones who are making an impression on him.

Last week we had his big brother in tow, so I asked my son if he’d like to do his pre-swim rinse off in the private Family Shower.

“No, I want to go to the Grammas’ Room,” he replied.

Say what?

“You mean, the big locker room?” I asked.

“Yes. The Grammas’ Room.”

I was struck by his take on the room that we frequent. He sees a lot of gramma-aged women there each week: these ladies are dedicated to their workout routines. Some of them are there for lap swimming. Most of them are there for water aerobics. These grammas, like his own, are showing him something important: a commitment to exercise and staying active, no matter what the age.

So whether it’s walking, lap swimming or water aerobics, go Grammas.

You are touching little lives in a big way.

Not Forgotten

I’ve been working on something light, and so wanted this to be that, but I think the lightness right now is stuck under a layer of heaviness. It’s not quite as simple as saying I miss my dad. I think it’s more the day-to-day reality that he’s not around anymore, and really feeling it. I’ve been seeing his face—not the alive face, the smiling, cheerful one—but the soft, still face I saw when I kissed him goodbye in my last earthly farewell at the funeral home. Peaceful. Content. Comfortable. But gone.

Last night at dinner, the boys ran through the names of relatives and took turns quizzing each other about their love for them.

“Do you love Aunt Pre?”
“Yes.”
“Do you love Uncle Scott?”
“Yes.” 
“Do you love Grandma Red Car?”
“Yes.
“Do you love Daddad?”
“Yes. Even though he’s dead.”

Blunt, to the point, and true.

I excused myself to the bathroom where I could shed some tears alone on the toilet and really feel the feeling of missing him, not just plowing through it. To sit with the sadness of what life feels like without him. He won’t join us for another dinner around the table. He isn’t here to experience another sunny Northwest Spring day. But I’m thankful that his memory is still fresh, that he is included on the list of relatives we love and that the answer was “yes.”

When I Run….

“I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

Those who’ve seen me run know that these words aren’t mine — I am definitely not what you’d describe as “fast.”

These are the words of Eric Liddell in the movie Chariots of Fire, and I’ve loved them since high school, when I first saw the movie and first started running. This weekend, my husband Mo and I ran by what I fondly think of as the Chariots of Fire house in Port Townsend, Washington (where the movie Office and a Gentleman was filmed). We did a training run along the course of the Rhody Run, a 12K run held in May as part of the Rhododendron Festival, which is a fun-filled weekend that celebrates the state flower and includes a parade and carnival on Saturday, followed by the run on Sunday.

Each year during the Rhody Run, this particular house sets up a roadside boom box with the famous Chariots of Fire tune blasting as runners stumble, sprint or walk by at about mile 5 1/2. (Folks there also hand out champagne, but I’ve never stopped for a cup). Whenever I hear the song as I go by —or at any other running event, for that matter—I get a lump in my throat. I think of this quote. I see the image of Eric Liddell running gracefully (and fast) down the beach, doing what he did best, glorifying God in the process and it moves me to near tears (it’s hard to totally break down when you’re running, although I’ve come close a couple of times).

Since I’m not particularly speedy, I have my own take on this quote, one that rings a bit truer to me: when I run, I feel God’s presence. When I’m out on the streets of Mill Creek or Snohomish alone, I see Him in a blazing red and orange sunrise that begins its crawl in the East. He’s in the light dusting of snow on an early-March day that falls softly and peacefully to echo my mood. I see Him in the evergreen trees that line the streets and dot the parks: strong, tall and steadfast. I talk to Him. Sometimes I ramble. Sometimes I’m specific. It is my time to say thanks, for the simplicity of being alone and taking in His creation. I also try to listen. He’s out there with me, day after day, minute by minute, mile after mile.

What I’ve discovered recently is that the beauty of a training run is that it gets me out running when I don’t want to be — I run when I just plain don’t feel like it. When I have a goal or an event that I’m training for, it makes me jump out of bed —late—the Monday after the Daylight Saving Time change to hit the road with huge gusts of wind pushing me back and drops of rain pelting my face. It makes me run a little bit quicker so I can get home to make sure my Second Grader arrives at school on time. It gets me off the couch on a lazy Saturday morning to enjoy some time with my husband, as we pass by the Chariots of Fire house and reminisce. When I have a goal, I run more. And when I run, I feel God’s presence. It’s one more opportunity, another invitation, to spend time with Him.

This weekend, as the quiet solitude of my training run is replaced by the raucous festivities of Portland’s Shamrock Run and I join 31,999 others to tackle the hilly streets, I will head South inspired by the music, words and images of Chariots of Fire —and the experiences that await when we just get out and run.

I Wish I’d Seen You Blow Those Candles Out…

Jon Bon Jovi turned 50 four days ago. This milestone has caused me to take one long stroll down memory lane, as his 2007 single “You Wanna Make a Memory?” echoes in my head. But maybe rather than “stroll,” the more fitting word for this trip would be “cruise,” since it all started in a car…

It was the summer before my Senior year of high school. My boyfriend and I were driving somewhere with his brother. Music from a cassette blared through the car. I’d never heard it. It was catchy. I was hooked. My simple inquiry came from the backseat.

“Who’s this?”

“Bon Jovi.”

And so it began.

From that time it’s seemed that song titles, lyrics and themes have paralleled my life —or maybe I’ve just interpreted them that way. Sometimes with depth. Many times with humor. “She’s a Little Runaway” played in my head as I waterskied on Lake Shasta. I sat with a guy I barely knew in high school and the profound, thoughtful lyrics of “Silent Night” served as an ice breaker. I crooned “Never Say Goodbye—which pretty much summed up the hopes and desires of my college years—encircled by swaying, singing friends at a fraternity pledge dance. As I went through a mid-20’s-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life crisis, I left the office of the counselor I was seeing. Her parting words came from my concert tee: “Keep the Faith.” “Give Me Something for the Pain” hit home during the break-up of a longtime friendship. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” marked the rekindling of another friendship.

And the list goes on. The music and memories have left an impression, one that even my parents couldn’t escape.

Shortly after the release of Slippery When Wet, I excitedly tossed Hit Parader magazine across the dinner table to my dad, proudly showing him long-haired rocker Jon on the cover. “Who’s she?” dad asked. Ouch.

These days, when I’m out running errands or driving the boys to a school event and a Bon Jovi song comes on the radio, I’m instantly taken back to a particular time and place. Suddenly, I’m in high school, lip synching at Chuck E. Cheese’s as part of Bon and the Jovies. Or I’m in the upper deck of the Cow Palace at my very first concert, watching in horror—certain a riot would ensue—as the lead singer of opening act Cinderella orders security to get an unruly fan “the heck” out of there. I’m recording an answering machine greeting duet to the tune of “Wanted Dead or Alive” (sometimes people call, and sometimes they do not, the people that call always hang up a lot…..sometimes you tell a friend by the message that they leave…) I’m directing girlfriends in a “Bad Medicine” music video at a convalescent hospital for my college Senior project. I’m driving a concert-bound VW van with the words Bon Jovi or Bust scrawled across the back window. I’m standing atop a seat at Key Arena with the words “Hi Jon!” emblazoned across my 7-month-pregnant belly.

But when I go back there, I am never alone.

I am always with friends (and my sister).

Laughter reigns.

(Well, maybe not in those moments at the Cow Palace.)

A couple weeks ago my mom called. Twice. In a row. At night. Uh-oh. Emergency?

“Kira, did you know Bon Jovi takes Advil?” (to this day I don’t think she knows that he has a first name.)

“Huh?”

“I’m watching this commercial, and I just know it’s him, I’ve rewound it a couple times.”

Oh.

So Jon Bon Jovi has turned the Big Five-Oh. Life has moved us from Hit Parader to Advil, high school waterskier to PTA mom. Which leads me back to the question at hand: do I wanna make “a” memory? I’ll say. Here’s to the countless ones that have spanned more than half my life—and to the family, friends, classmates, roommates and coworkers who’ve helped bring all those experiences to life: thanks.

We’ve seen a million faces, and we’ve rocked them all.