Thursday, April 21, 2016

Don't Give Up

After some intense training at the end of July in Salt Lake City, I was in so much pain. All I could do was question why in the world I was still working at a women's shelter. During my days off, I wasn't motivated to do much of anything other than make a collage on my wall of all the places where I've been and the places where I wanted to go. Or I would just lay in bed and sob. Then I would have to pull myself together to go back to work and do it all over again. I wanted to die.

Super moon-rise in August, as watched with Pete and Connie from Pete's roof.
In an effort to save my life, I thought that I must travel again. Student loans could wait until later. One day I crossed paths with a friend who was leaving for Washington, and she invited me along. It was tempting with knowledge that the PCT would be nearby and with all the beautiful memories I have of that trail. But I heard myself immediately saying to that friend, "No, I have to stay here." Instantly I regretted that I answered in that way. As I walked home, beating myself up for my answer, I came across this message on the bike path:

When I first saw this quote, I thought that I was giving into worldly desires and fears by staying at my job, gaining the world and losing my soul. But over time I would learn that it was the other way around. I was gaining the world by trying to escape the situation where God had led me to be. There's nothing wrong with having a job, I would come to learn, so long as it's in the divine plan and that my motives and intentions are pure. That I'm not working for greed, fear of the future ("financial security"), self-seeking, self-praise and so forth. Rather, the ideal is to be loving and to serve, no matter what situation we are in. That's where true happiness and security lies (as God provides all of our needs). And so If I am to travel again, it will be if God intends me to. For now, I continue to work and receive God's wisdom on a daily basis, which is more precious than silver or gold.

I've come to realize that the pain I felt was due to the entire history of an abusive relationship resurfacing. But back in July, I didn't see what was going on. One night at work, after holding myself together to be present for the clients, I retired to the office and checked e-mail. In my spam box was a message from "Craig." I gasped. That's the name of my brother who decided to give up on this life when he was 21 years of age. And the subject of the e-mail:

"Don't give up yet."

So I continued to work, and gradually I healed. Then during the winter, I received the opportunity to work the shelter manager position. The lessons each and every day have been momentous. In following God's will, the peace that I've craved for my entire life is coming to the surface. Confronting and learning from the past can be painful, and not many people want to do so, but I assure you that the rewards that come are worth it. The beauty of it all is so overwhelmingly glorious!

Altogether it's been a wonderful year in Moab. I can't believe that a little less than a year ago, I was stepping off of a plane here. Now this is my home. I suspect that wherever I am, Moab will be one of my homes for life.

Connie and Pete on the roof with the super moon and poodledinks!
Connie and I use this as our "dry-erase board" to give each other messages.
Harvard, Queequeg, Dinga, and Sage. Lucy somewhere in the back, too cool for the camera. Our friend, Arne, took these guys in his truck for a wild and crazy dog adventure.
Whit at Wilson Arch. He and I watched the sunset while awaiting Eric and Connie to rappel down.
Eric went first, then here's Connie!


"Dan the Man" stopping in for a visit.
Cuddle time with Harvard.
Queequeg, our mother, keeping an eye on the door and looking out for us as always.
Along the Colorado with Dinga and Freebird, who has returned from the Pacific Northwest Trail.

Our new watchdog.
Watching sunset from atop the Moab rim.

We came across 70+ wild turkeys!!

Harvard and Connie drive me to work on Thanksgiving morning.
Pete plays piano at Wabi Sabi's Thanksgiving dinner.
In December we came across this mini adobe dwelling. It was removed within a few weeks.

First snow of the season! Harvard demolished this tiny snowman with one step.

Freebird's best friend, Ken, visited Moab for a few days. What an adventure! Here we drive up into the La Sals.

Parriott Mesa, Priest and Nuns, and Castle Peak formations in Castle Valley.

Ken, me, and Freebird at Fisher Towers.

That evening we caught the Light Parade. We watched with amusement as all the floats passed by and as drunk Santa and his elf wove on a bike through them, up and down Main Street. Meanwhile, Freebird and Ken shouted at everyone in Pidgin.
Day 2 - Arches National Park. Balanced Rock pictured here.
North and South Windows.
Double Arch.
Ken suns while Freebird explores slot canyons behind Sand Dune Arch.

The trip to Arches comes to a close with this grand finale - Delicate Arch at sunset.
Day 3 - I get off of work early and spend one last day with Ken and Freebird. Here we gaze at 200+ dinosaur tracks!

Dead Horse Point State Park for sunset.

After Freebird and Ken left, Arne asked me to housesit and watch his dogs, Lucy and Sage, for one month. Here is Lucy!
A snowier winter than average in Moab.
Christmas decorations at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center.

Dinga, Sage, Lucy, and I enjoyed many adventures together for the month, thanks to Arne leaving his truck for us.
Ice chunks floating down the Colorado River.

Russell and Lucy.
Dinga and Sage.

Potato Party! Falcor, Justin, and Russell.
Amber's dog, Paige.

At the end of January, winter began to fade and make way for spring. One day, while I sat outside of the library with Russell, a bear came out of hibernation and roller bladed down Center Street, digging through trash cans along the way. It wasn't long until robins' melodies wafted from the trees, flowers were in bloom, butterflies floated through the air, bees buzzed about, locals were all smiles, and squirrels and tourists scampered about.

Mill Creek flowing through the Matheson wetlands, just before merging with the Colorado.
Happy kid and grumpy adult.
Russell, Falcor, and me in the library. Photo taken by our friend John.
Cat, Justin, and new member of the family, Mary Moonflower.
With the arrival of spring, there's been so many changes. One evening I looked upon the innocent face of Mary Moonflower, the daughter of Justin and Cat, who was born on February 29th. I met her under the tree by the library - the tree that has shared in many of me and my friends' experiences over the years.

Beneath this tree, I have gone through dumpster treasures with the moneyless tribe, shared many a meal, taken restful naps and looked up at the clouds, meditated, done tarot, read books, greeted friends, and said farewell to friends. I have laughed and I have cried there. We have a history beneath that tree. And to add to that history, I met Mary Moonflower there.

Her mother cradled her in her arms while her father played a beautiful melody nearby. The warm, spring breeze was caressing us as the sun set behind us. Russell sat beside the roots of the tree and cradled their dog, his baby, Tucker. What a beautiful, sweet dream. Seeing Cat and Justin as parents now, I realized how far we've all come.

It's been a wonderful year. At times I had wanted to run away, but I'm glad that I stuck it out and learned to fully embrace the present moment and truly appreciate everyone around me.

Queequeg and Connie relax and chat at my door.
The first spring blooms.
Castle Valley, as we rose into the mountains on the La Sal Loop Road. John and I drove along, eating frosties. This was the last time I saw him. He passed on a few days later in Salt Lake City, at the end of March. His presence, his smile, and his warm heart lives on, but is greatly missed.