Honest, hope is a verb

chapter titles in my book of life (part 2)

(To read the first 2 defining moments in my life check them out here.)

Now, lets just continue with the last three:

Defining moment numero tres:                                                                                                      

For four years in college I was in the University Women’s Chorus. Basically a beautiful, rambiunticous, sometimes sarcastic, always singing (just not on the bus) group of 50 or so women.

Every year we would have officers and at the end of each school year we would nominate new people to be voted on. My junior year I was in leadership as a librarian and honestly didn’t think I would be in the running for anything the next year.

And in the midst of nominations, one of the exiting seniors spoke up, “I nominate Meghan”

And a couple weeks later I was made the WC president for the 2006/2007 school year.

I was flabbergasted. The summer before senior was epic. I worked at hallmark, lived with Hosanna in Newport, went to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall, made a lot of dinners with Johnny and ate an amazing amount of sushi.

And as the weeks crept up to music camp I started to get nervous. Because one of the duties of the ensemble presidents (there were 4 of us) was that we had to give the devotions at Music Camp.

(This is the part where I remind you that I was/sometimes thing I am painstakingly shy.)

So the thought of giving devotions in front of 200 or so of my peers was not on the list of things I wanted to do.

Now, if you’ve never attend a music camp at a university just know it’s insane. Besides practicing music we were running around like crazy playing games, getting to know the freshman and then practicing music some more. I was going from early in the morning to late and night (because of course the one other job of the ensemble presidents besides leading a team was to host and set up the desserts after night rehearsal every night).

image-11(after this moment I’ve found myself on stage with a mike a lot more)

So the day before my devotion, I grabbed my roommates Hosanna and Kari and our friend Johnny and we practiced worship and I realized what I wanted to talk about.

The next morning I got up and spoke of passion. And living with passion.

And now almost 7 years later I think of how that moment was so thematic in my life.

The year of WC presidency impacted me in many ways but the main one was I realized I wanted to serve Christ, serve people and live passionately. It was a rough year at times (I was in tears after the first rehearsal), but it was empowering to show me such a beautiful piece of who I am.

piclab-16

 

                                                                                   (a memory I will always have)

Defining moment numero quatro

Fast Forward to the hell that was my life in February 2009. My mom was in the hospital, my dad was recovering from a triple bypass from the previous November.

I was living minute by minute since I broke down in October of 2008.

I was on antidepressants and probably spiraling faster than I realized.

The October prior my boss had given me a business card. For a therapist. I think I might have emailed him, maybe called him and left a message since then, but between the holidays and the hospitalizations I hadn’t done much with it. But apparently somewhere in those months I had left him my phone number because in the midst of calling people to take care of our animals there was a beep on my phone.

And it was him.

I remembering standing in my kitchen in front of my stove and answering it.

He asked how I was. I said my mom was in the hospital.

He said to call him back.

I did. I made an appointment (one which I had to cancel because I stayed at the hospital for a week) And then I rescheduled.

February 25th, 2009.

I remember the night before filling out the intake forms, while watching whatever reality show, every once in awhile asking my roommates about something on the form. (they are both women with an MA in Clinical Psychology).

So the next day after work, clutching my paperwork, I tromped up what are now incredibly familiar stairs for the first time. I open the door to this tiny waiting room and sat my shaky legs down on the couch.

photo 2(this is more symbolic waiting as opposed to the actual waiting room)

I remember stepping into that room for the first time. The minute I said yes to that my life changed. The minute I said yes to delving into the dark parts of my soul, to the hurts, to what made me cry, I changed. It was a small moment that turned into something bigger.

I can’t tell you how many times I sat in that room over the course of 4 years. I can’t tell you how many times I cried or how many times I yelled. But I can tell you that I would not be sitting here today had I not chosen to seek help and to open my mouth.

Defining moment numero cinco

February 9th 2012.

It was pajama day. I was wearing my favorite purple sweats, my favorite peacock toms and I was heading to work early because I was subbing for Peggy. It was a beautiful day out as I turned my bike down Santa Ana on my way to work.

I saw this kid coming towards me on the sidewalk, I’m sure to heading to the elementary school down the road, and I saw a woman pulling out oh her driveway.

It was probably only a minute in time; but in that I realized she didn’t see me, she wasn’t going to stop, I couldn’t stop fast enough and then I collided with her car. I hit the car, the cement, the asphalt, my glasses flew, my toms flew off and the blood started to flow down my head.

photo 1                                                                                  (the ACTUAL spot where I got hit)

What the hell had just happened?

The next hour was a blur. An ambulance was called, I called my boss, a preschool parent saw me and plopped down next to me. I ended up in an ambulance with no Kleenex.

When I got to the hospital my “sisters” (aka Leah and Lisa) found me and my pastor/older brother Eric had been called by my boss. I was in shock. It took awhile for me to get stitched up and sent out. By 11 I was sitting in my apartment on the couch by myself bruised, in pain with uneaten animal style fries in front of me. I called my parents, my therapist, my best friend.

I cried.

A lot.

Nicole brought me cinnamon toast crunch and milk.

I went back to work the following Monday (it happened on a Thursday)

I went through so many emotions after that day. Anger, hurt, more anger, more hurt, sadness.

And then I had clarity in the chaos.

Because getting hit by a car made me realize the thing that I had been putting off for weeks.

I needed to quit my job. I had literally been moved out of the path I took every day for five years. Everything God had been speaking to me about since November was moving into a new path, taking a new path, taking a leap.

You can read more about that here; but just know that getting hit was the best/worst thing to happen to me. It defined the ending and the beginning of the next part of my life.

image-10                                                                     (the helmet I got AFTER I got stitches in my head)

These are just 5 defining moments in my life. I’ve obviously had more; because each choice, each circumstance can become defining if we allow them too. Some we shouldn’t while others we should.

I leave you with my favorite quote about moments that define us.

(and the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom // anias nin)photo 3

hope is a verb

sit down and open your mouth.

(this is just a glimpse into apart of my story that got me talking, a part of my story that showed me there is more out there. It’s a small piece in the puzzle of “hope is a verb” and my call to spain and to movement)

I’ll never forget the first time I sat in the little waiting room at my counselors office. We’d talk on the phone twice and he’d emailed me intake forms that I’d filled out the night before.

Needless to say I was scared.

Scared to sit in a tiny room with this man I didn’t know.

Scared to reveal the fact that I was falling apart. Scared to cry (which I didn’t do for weeks)

 Scared to show my weakness.

I was scared to have someone I saw a semi regular basis (he was a preschool parent) see me. Like really see me.

It was scary to sit on the couch in this windowless office and answer questions no one had ever thought to ask me.

Questions about hurt, pain, joy, happiness.

I’d like to tell you it got easier with time.

I mean I guess it did.

But for me, talking about myself wasn’t the easiest thing in the world.

Can’t I just listen to your stuff?

Your problems?

I am so good at that.

I remember one week, a month or so into this therapy journey looking him straight in the face and telling him that I hated talking about myself. And that I felt that therapy was causing me to only talk about myself/think about myself.

And I detested it.

I remember him recrossing his legs and taking a moment. I’ll never forget the look on his face.

He then told me he thought I probably only thought about myself 10 or 20% of the time.

Yah, right.

I talked about myself ALL the time.

But of course as I went into that next week I noticed that he was right.

And it’s so funny.  Because I could WRITE about myself so easily.

But I had no idea how to talk about myself, or what I was going through or how I felt. I was the purveyor of the “I don’t know” or the “I’m ok”

And now, 5 years to the week that I sat in that therapy office for the first time, I’ve gotten better. I’ve sat in more hours of therapy than I might like to admit, I went on this crazy, spiritual journey that demanded I be open and vulnerable.

I can talk about myself now. How I’m feeling.

But what I’ve noticed is sadly; I’m in the minority.

There are a lot of people who don’t even know where to start. We live in this short hand society where a sad face emoticon is put in place to mean 50 different emotions.

regular-msn-emoticons

I’m not saying everyone needs to go to therapy and talk about their issues for 50 minutes a week but what I am saying is (to quote my friend Catherine Rosseli) we need to commit to opening up our mouths.

We need a person, a group, maybe even, yes a therapist, where we start to talk. Where we open our mouths and let our story flow.

I think we’d be amazing at what kind of people we could be come.

What kind of friendships we could have.                                                          What kind of relationships we could be in.

What kind of kids we could raise

If we only took  time to find out what sad is, what happy is, what mad is, what excited is, what hurt is.

Like I said: It’s been 5 years since the first time I walked into that therapy room. (February 25th 2009 because I’m good with dates like that).

And yes, It never got completely easy to walk into that office. There were some months I only went once, others where I went every week.

I went and saw him after I came back from the race. And even after a year away it was still a little hard to sit on the couch. But that’s ok. I don’t think it will ever be completely easy to sit and talk about hurt or pain.

Because it is hurt and it is pain.

But if we can’t recognize the things that hurt us how are we supposed to recognize the places where we are truly happy?

(Because not everything can be solved with one of these 🙂 or one of these 😦 )

Step away from the shorthand and emoticons even for the moment. Sit down across from a friend at a coffee shop, pull up skype and call a friend across the country or even yes, sit on a couch in a therapist office.

Couch*304

Because, my friends, it’s so good for your soul.