Live leigh updates*
*Less live, as in right now, and more lively, as in full of life.
When this particular photo was taken I remember it was an almost gloomy, but mostly beautiful day! The sky was clogged with silver clouds, and a noticeable breeze blew through the historic streets of Medora, North Dakota. I was scheduled that day to report for ticket selling duty by one o’clock. So, like any rational summer employee, I went to the java spot to load up on caffeine. Before closing the door to my dorm, I reached for a light jacket and was en route to a latte!
I reached my destination, pulled a triple shot caramel macchiato, and expected to journey back to work dry as a whistle, but wouldn’t you know it, pouring rain! Although the walk to work from the coffee shop is a mere three blocks, I had to assemble some sort of armor. First, I removed my shoes and zipped them into my backpack, which was then sheltered by a trash bag strategically fastened by a fellow barista. Finally, I flipped the hood of my jacket over my head and rolled up the bottom of my jeans. I was ready for war! Well, not really, I was just ready for the rain.
Down the street and around the corner I went. The flesh of my toes swam in shallow puddles along the sidewalk, and my fingers tried, but failed, to escape into the sleeves of my jacket! My casual commute to work became an unexpected journey of survival! Okay, ‘journey of survival’ may be a little dramatic; nevertheless, it was exciting! I got to laugh, and was forced to be creative!
You know, God is really the best at being creative. Sometimes, when a problem comes up, I like to think that He might just be giving me an opportunity to be a little bit like Him. Some days the challenge is figuring out how to stay dry while walking a few blocks in the rain, whereas other days I have to manage getting out of bed while recalling memories of humans I’ve loved and then lost. Inevitably, some days are more fun than others, but we all knew that already! I suppose what I might be trying to say is: not always are my struggles so easy to laugh about, but if a storm can bring glory and honor to the Lord, then bring the rain.
I took a journey to the back alleys of my mind. I wandered an avenue of thoughts comparable to the neighborhood across town that mothers won’t even admit exists. Her biggest fear is her baby becoming curious of what lies beyond the picket fence, and her poor heart lacks the capability of imagining her own flesh and blood becoming a victim of disturbance. She does everything she can to protect the fruit of her womb from the dangers this world offers, and when that fruit begins straying from the safety of her sight she’ll say, “Sweetheart, stay here with mummy, please.”
Oh, mothers, they try so hard to save us, but they too often forget that our minds become the predators that molest us the most. My own thoughts periodically reflect the ebony of hopelessness and my mother is dead; so, to the charming dark side I went.
The friends I was introduced to in the depths of my thoughts aren’t friends: they’re distractions. Once upon a time, I defended their behavior as an escape from the pain, and as bad as I wanted to live happily ever after with said distractions in my head, I needed something different: I needed a real Friend.
I start a piece and quit. I start another piece and quit again. I continually start and quit pieces because I don’t want to put something out with a lot of errors that doesn’t flow, but I’m over it. I’m over starting over!
I have tried again and again to write a catchy story of my last four months, but I can’t! I can’t explain what has happened since I finished my last exam in the spring and moved to Medora ND because the whole chain of events is laced with the work of the Lord and to explain that in one piece is impossible! There are so many characters to establish, and the chronology is so intricately woven together that I have a hard time making the series of events make sense! I am frustrated beyond frustrated, but I’m over it!
So, in May when I moved to Medora, I expected to work my body like a freight train to make enough money to go back to school, but instead I stayed. I didn’t stay because I couldn’t make enough money, and it’s not because I didn’t like school. In fact, I loved school! My roommate was amazing, I had great Christian friends, and volunteered for an organization I absolutely loved, but God had a plan when I applied to Medora, and it was not to make money.
I received blessing after blessing this summer. From working part time at an amazing little coffee shop run by one heck of a little woman to living in a 9’x12’ dorm with a roommate who I built an even deeper friendship with! Wherever I was in Medora, I was constantly surrounded by hundreds of people, and although I was not in the least fond of this busy, tiny town when I got here, it is now my home.
On my fifth or sixth day out here, I went to a BBQ at the community center for no reason other than the fact that they were serving free cheeseburgers! Well, those free cheeseburgers were only the beginning. I met a paramedic there who invited me to volunteer with their ambulance service. She asked me two questions: ‘How are you?’ and ‘Do you want to volunteer with the ambulance?’. Of course I said yes! Granted, I had met her once before, but that story is for another time.
So, within a two week time frame this woman signed me up to be CPR certified and made me a part of the team! Just like that! I guess that’s something you can do when you’re the director of the ambulance, but still to this day, my mind is astonished at how fast and furious everything happened! I’ll save you from all the mushy details for now and just tell you I am almost finished with my EMT class and am preparing for my National Registry exam in December. God is good.
At that same BBQ I met a couple who I thought was pretty nice. Now, I’m living in their house for the winter. The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is the reason I have a place to live and a job. Thanks to Billings County I’m taking an EMT class, while getting real experience as a driver; and, shout out to my Dad for supporting me when I think everything is going wrong, or I think I made the wrong decision! Honestly though, I feel confident that Medora is exactly where the Lord wants me to be.
I had a sign made in September that reads “Bless this adventure” because this life isn’t mine anymore, but belongs to the Lord. I started to say that I plan my days four hours at a time in July because I never know what is going to happen next, and I know now that most times planning even four hours ahead is pointless because God is always bringing me new challenges and delights that I just can’t plan for!
What I do plan on doing is keeping this Live Leigh Update more updated, but I only plan four hours at a time; so, no promises.