Laura Reid, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
I’m writing to you as my story is unfolding.
Maybe that’s how all stories are written now, with no clear beginning, middle or end.
Still, I think I know where to start. A place in time that feels like a beginning. Before life became like a storm colliding with a clear blue sky. First the pressure rose and the winds built, then a shock of relentless rain, almost a relief, until finally, everything was swept away. Humanity left standing in the floodwaters, holding umbrellas.
It was March 3, 2020. Your birthday, you know I never forget.
The night blooming jasmine clung to the predawn air. You entered your son’s bedroom and wanted to kiss his forehead, but chose not to, worried you’d wake him from his dreams. Instead, you double checked that you had your passport and all the information for your flights from Hawaii to Indonesia. You checked the zipper on your suitcase. You made sure you had your travel pillow. All those details and worry obscured everything else. You never said goodbye.
In the sky, you thought of how your husband had waited at the airport gate until the last possible moment to watch you. He watched with a concerned smile as you placed your carry on bag and laptop into grey plastic bins and removed your sneakers. He watched to make sure you had emptied out your water bottle and you flashed him a knowing smile when he saw that you had. After you passed through the X-Ray scanner and nothing beeped, you turned around and mouthed, “I love you, aloha.”
That was 57 days ago.
Even ever-calm you must be surprised! I remember how, after at first resisting, you began to enjoy entering events, to-do lists and meetings into your electronic calendar. I can almost hear you laughing about that now. “There is no guarantee,” you say these days. As if it is a lesson you’ve just learned, but I can assure you, you’ve been learning it all along.
I’ve been watching you from afar. How sometimes you cry into your pillow when you think of that missed goodbye kiss on your son’s forehead. But also how you walk on your new path with such lightness and joy, singing out loud, giggling as you toss back your hair. From a distance, you appear to be a girl again.
And as you know, that little girl you used to be has missed you. Almost as much as you miss your own child now. She’s been patient all these years, waiting for you to lose enough of yourself, to let go of all that was blocking your view of her.
What an unlikely, unexpected and perfect place to find her again. To find yourself, again. A place where you have learned to be so still that the sway of the ricefields stirs you awake. Where you have learned to let yourself slip beneath the chaos of the chatter and know that everything pure and positive is wrapping its arms around you, kissing yourforehead, protecting you.
Nevertheless, you are reminded daily that you are stranded, stuck, quarantined. Why then do you feel so free?
Yes, you are far from home, but closer to what you lost. This is your story, your truth.
You see the gifts being offered. You realize they were always there. And you finally understand that they are meant to give away.
So tell me, Dear One, what is it you are ready to release out into the world today?
I hope that it is this letter. Because I’d love to receive it.
Read more from Laura R. on her blog https://storyforth.io/blog/