I wrote him all his days,
except the last month or so.
He gets home next week,
but he will not drop by to say hello.
He said once that I was his best friend.
I am now dating his other best friend.
Reality: There once was a missionary, but:
Soon, he will be a Ken. Right here in this town.
Reality: There is no real way to prepare for this.
Our letters ended with a box.
Brooklyn text me:
"There is a box on our doorstep that looks like it's been through hell. I think it's from Latvia."
I came home to find it, busted corners and triple-taped.
To me, from him.
A box of all my letters and the things I've made him.
I sit here with them.
My mind looks at my heart and says
"Are you gonna be okay down there?"
"I think so, I mean someday," she says.
(She actually says much more than that. She begins a million thoughts without finishing any of them. She cries and yells. Sprints and sleeps. It's a mess, believe me. We're paraphrasing here.)
"No pressure," my mind tells her.
"Let's just not freak out. But let's not ignore reality either. But well... I don't actually know what to do ...Keep going? Yeah. Let's just keep going and listen for God and be strong."
This is what my mind and my heart generally decide to do. It's our most trusted solution.
So I made a cool thing on my wall out of the pictures he sent back.
And today, I'm readin my old letters.
I am tryin to make something positive out of this.
I am trying to do something constructive with all these emotions.
Wanna be a part of it? You're invited.
Here's a celebration of the last two years, in pieces:
So pretty much Pete Hoyt’s gonna marry my friend Stephy Jay, probably this summer. Another one bites matrimonial dust, and I am a triple bridesmaid.
"I’m in the APX breakroom at work, and there are computers for me! And a plasma screen TV... and I feel like I should be excited but I'm not. It's dumb. They should turn the heat on, and add a couch... and then I'd be excited. (Maybe a grilled cheese sandwich maker.)
My supervisor at my new job is pretty huge. He has a Mohawk… like a 4 inch legit Mohawk. The other day I was bragging about eating a whole frozen pizza after my huge dinner. And then, mistakenly, he doubted me. I challenged him. "You. Me. Eating Contest," I said. "Girl, I would put you under the table." He talks now, but I know he fears me. I'll let ya know how it all goes down."
"One more question. I feel like, if I were you, my American life and my Latvian life would seem immensely separate. To the point that remembering who I was before would be surreal, like I was recalling a movie I watched once... rather than something I actually experienced. Is it like that?"
"I'm home now! HOME. Today I took Brad to this sweet carnival thing for dang free! They had a ferris wheel and swings and an airplane ride and a fried chicken flopper! I was too old for everything, 'cept they did let me flop the chicken. I also wanted to get my face painted, but Bradley didn't really want to... and I would have been the only one in line that was twenty.
You know what word I miss? Filthy. My Mom's chasin Brad around yellin 'You are a filthy little child and you're gettin in the tub. Quit whinin'. And ooooooh! Go show Lyndsi how white your heiny is.'
Hi, welcome to the dollhouse.
Other updates on my kids--- Corey just got his first sword wound from Kung Fu, not kidding. He came in flexin his muscles "Finally!" he proclaimed as he let his battle scar shine forth.
Lacey's a fox. She came home soaked the other night because she decided she wanted to jump in the lake. So pretty much: she's me. I'm havin a sleepover with katie and kelsey tonight. I was real excited to ask her to come with me. What else could she possibly be doing on a Friday night? Going to Jason's party of course. So she's me, but cooler. Way cooler.
This morning I woke up to the sounds of Jesse rockin out to guitar hero downstairs. He's SO shaggy lookin. By the time I came down he was skateboardin in his pajama pants. A shirtless bandit of flannel rebellion. My siblings are ballin."
"Right now I'm sittin in a cabin that's been rented out for Sabrina's wedding party. I know--dank. Welcome to the bridesmaid's room, you're the only boy in here. Be glad you can't hear on account of you'd hate it. So Sabrina's gettin married this weekend. Stephy Jay next weekend. Heather and my roommate Kim the weekend after that. Also, Brooklyn has a boyfriend. Me? I have a complex."
"I'm stuck in Cedar City on account of a tire BLEW while I was drivin 80 mph back to provo. Guess who handled it like a CHAMP? Me. And Brooklyn.
I'm in a dorm room, long story. This mornin I woke up, took a sweet long shower, jacked a freshmen's hairdryer... and so now I am atleast a clean, good-smellin hobo.
Did I tell you I was a hobo for real? Cause I am. I had to leave my summer apartment on the 15th, and my new one won't let me in til the 28th. So I'm stayin at Pete and Stephy Jay's empty married apartment until then. Brooklyn's with me, and her little sister Jen who's been livin with us for a month or so. Plus Steph's on her honeymoon so no big deal. Its FULL of boxes, with a mass-pad of blankets in the only open carpet-space-- we sleep there. Yesterday we dropped off Jen at SUU for her first day of college. (Hi, nostalgia major? Yes.) Anyway, thats when our car crapped out on the way home. We were sittin on the side of the highway in the dark, watchin the mountains. With the help of Chris Noel: my hero firefighter, and a state
I feel anxious about the fall, I am anticipating the change and flow of newness. I always get this way when I'm havin a beginning. Plus Sabrina, Steph, Stephy Jay, Heather, and our summer roommate Kim are all married now. So we're pretty much the most legit girls left in this town. And by we I mean me and my Brooklyn, we're a team."
"When Lyndsi gets married, we ain't havin no dainty halibut.
There will be fried chicken at that wedding."
--My little brother Jesse.
"I love my brother Corey. I know we could understand each other. I miss him loving me. Loving me without guard, without anger. I would soar with relief, gratitude, and hope if I saw him go on a mission. I see what he can be. I wish I was more able to show him this love, because I know he doubts it, and I know that hurts him."
“There is one battle that remains-- always, I am fighting for my youth. Back home, I felt like my youth was dying before its time. I worked to preserve the child in me. I think that is why I still need to play in the reain and sing loud and fingerpaint. I need to know that I am not hardened. I pay my rent and write my papers. I go grocery shoppin and apply for scholarships. I help my friends tie up their wedding dresses. I. am. growing. Up. Part of this is beautiful to me. But still, I ache with the change. As God stretches me into who he wants me to be-- there is pain in the growth. I grieve for what I have lost. But I fell him here with me. I am grateful for the braid of past, present, and future. Sometimes, he reminds me, that he won't make me grow up any more than is necessary. Being a woman doesn't mean I lose my warmth. He will never rob me of my youthful spirit.”
"It's midnight and I'm eatin a chocolate coconut bar in my pajamas. I just got off work. There's an engaged snuggly couple on my couch, a leaky faucet down the hall, and a new book in my purse. This is my sweet life. I like it here."
"Lately I've been havin a hard time too. But, I was resistant to God's answers. I didn't want to know them... maybe because knowing them would require action-- and i was choosing to sulk. But last Sunday I told Him I was ready to be in-tune. I opened myself back up. And since then, I have felt hims sending me strength. I sang in the car yesterday, and knew that I was BACK from my greyness. There was confidence and freedom in my voice, instead of disappointment and distraction. I know He brought me back, and I am grateful."
"Now I'm in my front yard eating chips & mango salsa with a stack of the letters you've sent me since I last wrote you. It's sunny. Happy Wednesday."
"...I love Ilga the feisty composer! She sounds like a strong woman, even if she's too stubborn to listen to you these days..."
"There is so much compassion in me, but blocked. Blocked by my distracted self-importance. If I could break down all that opposes it-- the anger and judgment-- the pride and idleness-- I know... that only clear purpose would remain. Only clarified direction.
*Postcard from California*
"Hail from your homeland! I'm here! I know! One of my favorite parts of today was sittin on the edge of the water and playin in the sand and tyin thin blades of seaweed on my ankles. They're still there. I bought some wooden beads from a mexican store for touristy kids like me-- who eat fajitas and fried icecream barefoot outside. Ken, San Diego is WAY different from the beach back home. There's a loud speaker at the ocean?! It's more ballin sushi city... and less country-fried-chicken-letsgofishin. It's not 100% me but I love it for what it is...”
"I have to tell you something. I'm kinda responsible now... like the super-busy-let-me-look-at-my-calendar-I'll-have-to-email-you-the-numbers responsible. It's weird. I used to think this kind of organization would kill my freedom and spotanaety. Now I know I have to be this way if I want to get everything done. Ken, I even wake up early. People depend on my and stuff. Sometimes I think 'Oh no! What if I'm boring now?!' But you're probably more responsible now too, so if I am more boring... hopefully you won't notice."
"Ken are you good at skipping rocks? Because I'm not. It's okay though, because I like the plunking noise..."
"I wish I could just sit you down and show you who I am, that it could be that simple.
The good news is: I've been tryin to do that for a long long time. For a while there, I couldn't tell if you were listening. Maybe that's because you weren't. But it's probably because you listen so differently from me, and so I just couldn't tell you were. Either way, for a long time now I've been able to tell that YES you are listening. I can feel your willingness. I'm always glad to see that it's still there. Always relieved. The best part is, these days you seem so ready to also show yourself. Maybe we can just keep trying. Thanks for doing this with me."
"I always worry that some mailman between here and eastern Europe will think the decorations on my envelope are obnoxious and throw away my letter because it's lame and American. Then I feel ignorant for worrying because that's kinda lame in itself... and American."
"Ken I just wanna be your friend all the time and tell you things. Sometimes I am walkin to school and I think 'I am so happy today. I want to tell Ken how this feels.' I am relieved to hear myself say things like that so naturally. Kinda like that time your companion asked you who I was and you said 'my best friend' without even thinking about it...
... I'm just glad for now-- for this part where we just write letters and learn things. This feels good. I believe in you so much. I hope you're finding out how powerful you are."
“Siovhan asked me what I want to be when I grow up and here's what came out: ‘A writer. And a Mom. Not necessarily in that order, but simultaneously, and forever.’ That's the most complete I've ever felt about the answer to this question.”
"I sit at this table, surrounded by produce and old letters... a gallon of chocolate milk (99 cents!) and the change of midnight. Today in my life I feel surrounded by: CHOICES.
This is scary. Empowering. Staggering. Everyday, I find myself doodling question marks.
Where will my life go?
These days I am trying hard to be my best self. I have to keep re-committing, sometimes hourly. I know you are trying hard too. Let's both keep going."
"Okay. There's this very logical thing you keep doing that blows my mind...
1. Acknowledge flaw.
2. Make goal.
3. Follow goal.
It seems so simple, and I see it working for you. I see your change. In my mind, I want these processes to be poetic-- symbolic and unfolding. Change can be this way, but the steps to change are much more simple. Logical. Accessible. Duh, right? In my mind, great things happen in mass revelations of beauty and truth. But great things just happen out of consistent effort and keeping covenants. That's all. God has been teaching me this, and you too.
Sometimes he says to me, 'See this rain? You hate it because it is slow and misty. It isn't a mad rushing downpour, so you think it has not story, that no one will remember this rain or really feel it. But not everything has to be so intense. Not every feeling has to come fast and strong to really matter. Not every process is a revolution. All the green things you love are benefiting from this rain I've sent, no matter its pace. Slow life can be your life. It can be enough.'
I listen to him, but I forget very fast."