Today is Memorial Day.
I love Memorial Day.
I love that there is an entire day set aside to being thankful for the ultimate sacrifice that one can give for their country. An entire day to relax and hangout at the pool or have some drinks and burgers with family and friends.
I had an okay day today. I took a kickboxing class. I went to the grocery store with my mother. I watched The Jungle Book with my dad and ate some delicious food. After dinner, I put some pineapples on a skewer, drizzled some maple syrup and cinnamon on it and took it outside to grill.
My face crinkled with concentration so that I wouldn’t catch myself on fire. I carefully placed the skewers in opposite directions on the grill and then sat in an outside rocking chair that we have. The chair rocked back and forth and for a few minutes I looked at my phone and waited for my pineapple to cook.
A raindrop on my knee interrupted my Facebook scrolling and I turned away from my phone to look up at the sky. The clouds were dark and the sun was setting and it was breath taking.
As my eyes grazed the sky, it occurred to me how wonderful life is. The clouds suddenly became a little blurry as a tiny tear welled up in my eye. I thought about how lucky I am. How I have amazing friends. Most of my family has passed away but I felt so blessed to still have my parents. I work at a job that I love with people that I’ve come to know as friends. I have the most beautiful relationship with one of the most beautiful souls I have ever come to know.
I stopped rocking and shooed the tear away. I opened the grill and saw that my pineapple hadn’t cooked at all. The skewers were placed back on the plate as I tossed on more lighter fluid into the grill. The flame roared up and I placed the skewers back on the grill this time all facing the same way.
And then I went back to thinking and looked back up to see the clouds had moved right above me. The rain was lightly sprinkling a pond that we have in our back yard but I didn’t care. I continued rocking in the chair.
For a few seconds, my anxieties stopped. My constant need to please everyone and make them proud of me stopped. My head stopped spinning and my heart stopped pounding. I wasn’t exhausted anymore. I didn’t think about bills or all the work I have yet to do. I trapped myself in that moment of rocking in that chair, wet from the rain and waiting on this damn pineapple.
I thought about how if I left earth at that exact moment I would be okay. Not in the sense that I welcome death or fantasize about dying but in the sense that I was elated and I was content in that moment. I wanted absolutely nothing and needed even less. The worst situations I could come up with in my head, the ones that were already presenting themselves to me, didn’t seem so horrible anymore.
It’s kind of like when you are at the beach looking at how the waves and the skyline merge into one being or when you lay in the grass and look at the stars and you feel so damn small. But that feeling is somehow wonderful and puts you to peace. All the horrid and even the good things that have happened to you all of a sudden don’t seem quite as austere.
There are very few moments in one’s life, or at least in mine, that we experience such a deep gratitude for life, a deep love for living. This is perfectly understandable considering how fast life moves on a daily basis. But since this moment came to me I drained out every ounce of it that I could.
I laid in that chair, with my head titled up toward the sky and I felt the rain tap my face.
My mom came out to yell at me about some plate I left out.
I listened to the quiet and let myself feel.
I heard my dad yell out the door to ask if I wanted the last burger. I let him eat it.
I finally opened my eyes and peeled off the grill cover.
My pineapples had burnt a little but I didn’t care.