Today is Monday, sometimes my very favorite of days for its new beginnings and potential and possibility and sometimes my most dreaded of days for the long stretch and expanse of time between "here" and whatever I am looking forward to over "there."
Today is the last Monday my sister will live in the town we called home in the Midwest. She is venturing out, making her own way, doing her own thing and daring to seek out something better. I don't know much about the new life or the new job or the new people she is going to encounter. But from someone who did the same thing less than a full year ago I would like to send her this message. I would like to bestow a few words. I would like to give her my own piece of well-wishing and goodbye.
When I left the Midwest, it had already turned cold, the air frozen and metallic and the ice and frost and gray air crept in everywhere, chilling to the bone and causing shoulders to hunch, Midwest bodies turn into themselves and constrict and clutch closer in to conserve whatever heat they can hold. I had finished my last shift at my last job in that town and I went to get a cup of coffee. And the line was long. And I didn't mind. I stood there, looking at all of the holiday mugs and porcelain reindeer sugar caddies. I didn't check my phone. I didn't read my book. I just stood there, alone, in line. And from seemingly nowhere, suddenly, I felt warmth and the kindest of pressure around my arms and torso and neck and heart. It was like I was being hugged from every direction from many invisible people. I felt physically and emotionally loved. I felt encouraged and supported and just, so, right. It was as if at that moment, there were people near and far away from me that were sending me good thoughts and love. I smiled, to myself, and tried to hold onto that feeling, remember it, stow it away so that I could reach for it during those moments of questioning and loneliness and confusion that I knew were part of this great package deal of moving away on my own.
I am sending that love and encouragement and invisible embrace to my sister, every moment of every day this week until she and my mother and their little dogs crawl into their car early early on Friday morning. I hope she leaves feeling that support, feeling that encouragement, feeling that incredible mark of love and significance that she so easily and eagerly gave and gives to everyone she meets. She is a beautiful soul.
This quote I kept near to me as I was leaving and still pull it out from time to time when that invisible embrace is too distant of a memory to recall. I give it here, to her, to recite and remember. I know that I am not the only one hoping and wishing a great many good things for her on this adventure we call life and growing up and trying new things and places and people. I am one of many. We all love you and will miss your warmth and energy and company.
“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Be well, baby sister. Don't forget to stop and be present in the place that held you for so long. Remember to feel the love. Stop and listen to the whispers of well-wishes. Keep your phone in your pocket. Look at the faces of the familiar and send them the love they are giving you. Then release them. Open yourself up and clear your heart for new faces. Throw your arms wide to what is coming...