Monday, July 02, 2007

Phone Booth

You know how there are some points in your life where everything is so perfect you can't imagine how you could ever be sad again?

I was remember a phone call I made to my mom twelve years ago at the end of my freshman year of college. These were the dark days before everyone had a cell phone and I would usually call home from the booth outside the student center. Things really couldn't have been better, I had landed one of the appointed positions in Student Government that everyone wanted, I had an invitation to join the sorority all my friends were in, I had committed to an apartment with girls I was really excited about and the boy I had been pining for all quarter was taking me to the Spring Formal. I distinctly remember feeling like nothing could possibly make me sad ever again because right now I had everything I could possibly want. The contrast between that phone call and one nine months earlier, where I told my mom between racking sobs that if she left right then she could be picking me up before dinner was almost laughable. I was so unhappy at school for the first quarter that I didn't even come back for the first week after Winter Break. I was convinced that going to SUU had been a big mistake and I just wanted to go home. All these years later it's frightening to think what my life would be like if I had indeed gone home. So much of where I am and who I am now hinged on staying in Cedar City.

I guess I've been thinking about that phone call quite a bit lately because I have several friends going through tough endings right now. I always wish I had brilliant things to say to people who are going through hell. I settle for just being a willing listener and in the end, I suppose that's what people probably need more. But tonight I was talking to a recently engaged friend about a nasty breakup in her past. She was saying how glad she is now that relationship didn't work out and how exponentially happier she is now. Patience is not a virtue I have ever had in abundance and I have a tendency to wallow a bit when things get rough. So I like imagining the sad little freshman begging her mother to come save her coming face to face with a slightly older and braver version of herself celebrating all manner of personal victories. I firmly believe that holding out in the face of fear and hurt and disappointment will always, always end up being worth it. That God can do things in our lives that are completely unimaginable when we are in the depths of despair. But I think we have to be willing to do some of the work. We can't just climb into bed and hope that when we wake up it will all have blown over. Anne Lindbergh once said, "I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and a willingness to remain vulnerable." Breakups, divorces, illness, job loss, death-these things are all really good excuses to get stuck in your own pain. I just believe that focusing on what you can use from the experience to move forward and letting the rest drop away is a real gift. I am grateful to the low points for making the high points so much sweeter.

That was sort of rambling...just trying to get some things out of my brain...

12 comments:

Mike said...

...beautifully said.

chloe elizabeth said...

But beautiful rambling...and I love that quote. I think learning from suffering is also what makes the difference between someone who is truly happy and someone who feels like life has dealt them a crappy hand. Thanks for sharing! I love your ramblings. If I could write (with effort) the way you ramble, I would be so happy.

Jayne said...

I can see so clearly in my mind an earnest little face with big eyes and a pointy little chin, on a little girl always worried about doing the right thing. One blink that there she is covered in braces and a mass of puffy hair, wondering if she has any real friends and still wanting to be good.
How lovely that now what everyone sees is a bright, (largely) confident and really beautiful woman who knows how to be a friend and how to really have fun! And she's still doing good. Bless you for quoting Anne Lindbergh!

bets said...

This post is so right on as usual Ms. Katie. You are great.

Daisy Paige said...

Katie, I'm glad you stayed at SUU so I could meet you. I know Jed is too, and who knows how many more people are? You're like a light that comes in to someone's life and never dims, even if you go far away. Your attitude is addicting.

MissEm said...

I also made a scene when being dropped off for college. Mine involved crying at a dingy dinner near campus in Stockton and at the local bank.

Sherpa said...

Very nicely said.

tim & brandi said...

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last week about the relationship between suffering and wisdom. The quote you used is perfect. Thanks for sharing it.

t.

Pam said...

Hmmm.... what in the world is it that you're driving at Katie? You're not a very good communicator, can you try again?

(You caught the sarcasm in that right?)

chelle said...

i know i don't know you...really at all...but i think you are a bit on the amazing side. thank you for sharing. it helped me think about some of my own situations!
thanks!

Rod Clifford said...

The hardest thing I've ever done is drive out of that parking lot with teary-eyed you in the rear-view mirror watching us leave. I wanted to turn around, but I knew I couldn't. You had to learn to fly with your own wings, and look where they've taken you. Makes a dad pretty proud.

aporitic said...

Yeah right. I've been trying for the last couple of days to picture a Katie that didn't totally pwn the world and everything* in it.

And still, no matter how you slice it, that sequence just plain Does. Not. Compute.

Signed,

Not buying it.






*Well, evertyhing but the DMV maybe.