*A new location for past due news!
Am I sitting in the same McDonalds that I’ve been sitting in doing homework for the past six hours? Yes, but now you’re here too. Whether you’re Dad, Mark the Hitchhiker, or whoever else, I want to invite you here. I want you to sit in the booth across from me and just be with me for a few minutes. Just sit here with me and just be because I’ve lived in Wisconsin for a month now and I miss you.
Welcome to my booth! This is my booth as much as it is anyone’s booth, but I’ve staked a silent claim on it that makes it more mine in my head. It seems like a lot of things happen in my head these days. You’re the first person I’ve told that to, and you’re the first person to sit in it with me. So, now that you’re here, would you like to hear about how life has been? Okay!
Well, my first day as a Mayo Clinic employee was on September 10th. That’s wild, don’t you think? I suppose I knew it was happening, but I never really expected to make it. I didn’t think that I would actually finish paramedic school until I did, and I didn’t think I was actually going to begin a career until - well, until I did!
My booth has cushioned seats and a window to your left. If you look out of it you can see past the parking lot, apartment buildings, and the highway all the way to Lake Superior. Today is rainy, but you can look through the rain and see the swells rising and falling on themselves endlessly. Most days when I sit here I can’t see past the apartments because of the fog, so you’ve come on a good day.
That reminds me of another first! For the first time in my life I was able to experience life inside of a cloud for not one, but three consecutive days. I had always imagined how magical life would be inside of a cloud. Looking up from Dad’s front steps in Montana the clouds stir feelings of adventure and power because they are so far away, doing whatever they please, and nothing I do will ever change their behavior. If the clouds are going to storm, they will storm; and if the clouds are going to dissipate, they will dissipate. They are whimsical and mysterious, and I couldn’t imagine life inside of one being anything other than spectacular. Now, you’re not going to believe this, but experiencing the inside of a great mystery, like the clouds, is only as great as you make it. For me it was considerably exciting in the beginning and continued to be wonderful throughout the middle, but by day three I ached to say good morning to my friend in the east.
Speaking of friends, thank you again, Friend, for sitting with me. The three young men sitting at that high table to your right are wearing wet suits and recapping the waves they rode on their surf boards earlier this morning. I’m trying to eavesdrop, but their sentences keep getting cut off by laughter that boils out of them unexpectedly like forgotten pasta on the stovetop. Do you remember that time when we laughed so hard our tummy muscles pleaded for mercy? Our breathing diminished into uncoordinated gasps for life and our hearts raced. Our throats dried into deserts that begged for rain, but any attempt to quench the thirst would simply lead to more laughter! We can watch the surfer dudes walk out now, still laughing.
The funny thing about being here, is that in the mist – get it? “mist” instead of “midst” because we’re inside of a cloud 😊 – of everything new I sometimes miss the way things were before. I know that times of transition are temporary, and everything is going to be okay, but I still miss sitting together and instead of imagining the times we laughed, we would actually laugh. When sitting together meant that I could give you a “look at those surfer dudes” look and you would know exactly what I meant. I long for our conversations filled with weird faces and made up theories about things that never happened. I long for the talks about what’s hurting our hearts and how different life would be if we would have made different choices along the way. I long for silence that isn’t uncomfortable.
Don’t be mistaken. I really like my apartment, the people I’m meeting, and my job! I’m learning and growing, and it’s all been a spectacular adventure. My heart continues to be grounded in peace and I’m happy, but I that doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. My heart is filled with joy, but sometimes I’m sad.
I think it’s fair to be both because part of the joy that comes from having a friend like you is the sadness that accompanies not being together. The root of this hurt in my heart that wants so badly to laugh with you is the joy of being your friend. That’s why it’s been nice having you here, even if it’s only in my imagination.
The coffee at McDonalds is endless, but I should be getting back to work because I have tasks to be finished, hills to be climbed, and moments to be seized. - From my life in the clouds to wherever you are, goodbye Friend! I love you a lot!