There comes a point in time where Faith just becomes a part of you. When you finally let go of it all, worries and problems and anger and resentment…and peace washes over you, as if diving into a wave. No outside noise, eyes closed, total weightlessness. And when you break through to the surface the sun warms your face and you plant your feet on the sandy bottom below…ready to dive again.
Now, to be totally honest, I had not a single clue what a Duffer was. I knew (from the photo’s) that it was a group of guys I went to Elon with and, quite frankly, thought that they came up with the name…The Duffers…after a few rounds of golf and many more rounds of drinks.
Come to find out that a Duffer is:
- A person inexperienced at something, especially at playing golf
- Invisible dwarves in the Chronicles of Narnia
So we know that, though majestic, Elon was not Narnia… A- Would be the appropriate choice.
These Duffers, though initially inexperienced, became bolder and more empowered over the years…just as we all do.
So, in fact, maybe a Duffer is how we all started… Inexperienced at something, many things. Always learning and growing and figuring it all out.
So to start at the beginning, a long time ago, I was a part of a magical place…surrounded by Oaks and fountains and green grass and to this day (I am sure) there is nothing like it. I know that to be true. Time stopped for a moment, long enough for me to find family outside of anyone or anything I had ever known.
And I met a group of boys, boys who I would see at a bar. Boys who always smiled at me. Boys who I knew were good, and true and crazy fun. And there was one with a smile that would rival the sun. It was infectious and you could pick him out in every photo because his zest for life shone in his eyes. And, like the Cheshire cat- he had a wonderful and mischievous grin. He was always there through time and space and as we rolled along I thought of him as Gatsby, like the green light… His smile was like Gatsby’s, pure and driven by all that was good.
“He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.” –The Great Gatsby-
We learn and love and lose and fall and get up again- no one escapes failure and defeat, it is an inevitable part of life. When you fall, those that soften the blow are the most important cushion, and that for most, for the Duffers has been Elon. The common bond, the Numen Lumen-what we used to laugh about over several beers repeating it again and again…not really knowing the true meaning. But now (thanks to Wikipedia) we know that these words are about love and light and God’s space. It’s where we began and, in a way, where we all end…in the hands of each other. No matter the name or the symbol—we belong to each other. Phoenix, Fighting Christians, Sorority, Fraternity…we are each other’s love and light…Numen Lumen.
God Speed Mark Foley-you are our green light.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
This wonderful post was written by Amy Byrnes (who I believe is a kindred spirit due to her past love of Forenza sweaters and Busch light). She has a wonderful blog in which she details her life as a “Mom. Sandwich maker. Counter wiper. Dream killer. Blogger,” in ‘A’ My Name is Amy. Her stories will make you laugh, cry and yearn for the days when life’s biggest decision was what you were going to wear out that night. Because, let’s face it, life is hard and messy and, as the years go by, gets harder.
How to Stay Friends for 30 Years will take you back to when you met your best girl friends and the roads that you traveled together (and separately). And makes your re-realize what you already know…that you couldn’t live without them.
You can tell that summer is coming to a close. The evenings are now filled with a golden autumn light that encourages all to take advantage of these last, carefree moments. Leaves have begun to drift down, carried to yards of green on soft winds. Parents are smiling a bit brighter, ready for a reprieve from the mayhem of three months of “togetherness” that is beginning to take its toll.
Yes, summer is waving goodbye and I must say this year I’m not as excited as I usually am. There were some things that wanted to do over those lazy, hazy days that I never got around to. Some trips I wish we’d taken but I think that happens every year, you get so busy and pre-occupied with what has to be done that you forget what you wanted to do.
A good friend reminded me of that the other day. She had dropped her children off for their first day of school and decided to take a walk instead of head right into the office. It was something that she had wanted to do for a while, just take a moment and breathe. Many times, she recalled, her walks were focused, determined to complete them in record time in order to get to the “to do” list that waited anxiously. But today, instead of barreling down the road, eyes down, mind filled with pressing thoughts, she looked up.
The sky was a beautiful Carolina blue and the sun shared its golden rays, warming her face and touching her soul. It was the first time that she had allowed herself to walk this way, to take in what was there in that moment. Peace.
In that moment she knew that God was speaking to her in His soft subtle way, telling her to look to Him for all things. To lay her fears and burdens and anxieties and worries at His feet.
No burdens to carry, no worries to ponder what would she do without those things? What do we do without them?
Revel in the majesty of a sunset and let our children’s laughter fill our ears and delight our hearts. Call an old friend and laugh about the past. Realize that all we can do is live in the present, relish each moment we are given and release our future to Him. The One who knows all. The One who creates beautiful golden sunsets, brilliant blue skies and vibrant rainbows to remind us of His love for us.
Look up from your cell phone and your computer and your iPad. Put the pressing list of projects to the side for just a moment and look, really look at the sky and the trees and feel the breeze on your face.
Look at what is real and true.
It only takes a moment.
You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’
God Bless you Maya Angelou. Thank you for making us laugh and cry and think…and for teaching us that we really are all in this together.
This photo says it all…life is hard but that doesn’t mean that we cannot overcome the obstacles in our paths. God Bless all those runners today and God Bless Boston!
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!
I sometimes imagine myself on a panel, you know, on a stage where they line up tall chairs for the speakers to awkwardly climb into and talk and be questioned about things or subjects they are experts on. But this panel is different, it is compromised of women, most who have been to hell and back, and they are telling their story of pain and loss and grief. How they survived and overcame and are dealing with breast cancer, infidelity, domestic violence or (unimaginably) the loss of a child. They are there, telling their story, sharing their hell. And then its my turn, my throat is dry and my heart is pounding, I know that my voice will crack or shake or do both if I attempt to speak. I wring my hands to stop them from shaking and I close my eyes and then open them and look down at the line of brave warriors that had gone before me and quietly say ” I got nothing.” Continue reading
At forty I still feel young, especially when I’m with my college girlfriends. Age and time seem to fade and it’s just like when we were back under the oaks, listening to the Indigo Girls and drinking cold beer under a Carolina blue sky. I long for those days again, when life was simple and major decisions had nothing to do with houses and children and 401K’s. When the biggest crisis was who you were asking to the grab-a-date or finding where you left your bike the night before. It was a time when it was ok and almost expected to be a bit foggy at 11am and when everyone who depended on you was always a bit foggy too.
But time passes and life throws curves and rocks at you, you fall in and out of love and you find what matters most, all while amassing an adult life that you thought that you were supposed to have and aren’t sure that you really want. And with that brings problems and crisis and you find that your family and friends are real people with real problems, not the fairytale figures you created them to be in your youth.
People disappoint you and surprise you and horrify you and you realize that you are grown up and have to be strong because being weak is not an option. Yes, you may have moments of weakness but they can’t last because you have others who depend on your strength so that they may live their own lives and figure out this cycle for themselves. You see people who cannot be strong so you try to give them your strength to get them through and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Continue reading
I was in my late twenties, sitting in a church pew, clutching my (then) new husband’s hand, tears streaming down my face, I listened to my Mother and Uncles eulogize my Grandfather.
A story was told of a time when they had asked my Grandfather if he wished he was taller. This was a question that caught me off guard as I never thought of my Grandfather as short; he always seemed larger than life to me. When they asked him how tall he wished he was, his response, “As tall as Jesus.”
Gasps were audible throughout the church. The magnitude of the statement just uttered caused spontaneous inhalations of incensed church air. We Catholic’s are good at acting astonished.
My uncles, being the inquisitive bunch that they were (and still are), tried to determine the true height of Jesus through research and general “asking around” but never found a definitive answer. Finally, they went back, feeling discouraged and explained that they weren’t able to figure it out and looked to my Grandfather to solve the puzzle. He laughed a little and said that he didn’t know either but that was the point. Jesus was as tall as he needed to be. Continue reading
Let’s face it, Mom’s just know how to get things done. It’s because they have to, they have no choice. In many cases they are the ones making the lunches, waking the children, getting them breakfast, playing referee between those same children who are eating breakfast, making sure they put on some sort of clean clothing, tie their shoes, get their teeth brushed (on a good day) and scooting them out the door all within a forty minute time frame. Continue reading