“Your friend is your needs answered,”~ Khalil Gibran
I don’t know why he did it, You’d have to track him down and ask him. I’d crossed the stream, stretched out on a rock to relax in the sun and fell asleep. I woke to a passionate kiss from the lead guide, Charlie.
“Wake up Sleeping Beauty. It’s time to go.” I was shocked and amused at the same time. I watched him walk away, grinning from ear to ear. He had barely said a word to me the entire trip. He had no idea how I was struggling with being a skinny and shy dancer who didn’t know where her place was in the world. That kiss was never repeated, but it woke me up in a way that nothing else could have at that time.
I believe that God knew Charlie’s playful nature and my need to feel whatever it was I needed to feel, and created a moment of healing for me.
That’s the way life has always worked for me: people bring the gift of who they are to my life and we both grow. And God sits back and watches. I think he’s as easily entertained as I am.
Five days later I was sitting in the back seat crying. I’d spent the best week of my life camping in Utah’s canyons and I was on my way back to civilization. The memory of how I felt on that drive is vivid because it is attached to this song. Whenever I hear it I go back to a simpler time.
I don’t know why I woke in the middle of the night last night, remembering that week. Perhaps I’d triggered the memory by my earlier reflecting about what makes me happy and feel fulfilled. Maybe it was Kenny’s daydreaming about the upcoming county fair that he’s so excited about. His happiness, he believes, is waiting for him there.
I searched this memory for the answer to what makes me happy? What do I need?
It seems like such an easy question. You know? But life can hide the real answer sometimes, and going back to our hearts can be difficult because hearts don’t lie. And realizing how far one might have traveled off a true path can be confronting.
I was quiet back then and I don’t remember talking much. But I remember how I felt.
What was it that made me feel those things?
It wasn’t a big fancy house – I slept in a tent on the ground. I don’t remember feeling uncomfortable. I loved rolling to the tent door in my sleeping bag and looking up at the stars. Unobscured by city lights, they danced and twinkled silently, reminding me of how small I am in the universe and yet how significant I am at the same time.
It wasn’t a car – I walked with a 40 lb. pack on my back over rough terrain in very hot sun. I don’t remember feeling tired, although I must have been. The scenery was just so inspiring.
It wasn’t gourmet meals – I ate what a poor college student could afford; I’d packed peanut butter sandwiches, apples and oranges. That made for a very bulky and needlessly heavy pack, but it was all I had. And I ate like a queen ’cause I was hungry and grateful.
It wasn’t beautiful clothes or well-done make-up – I had no mirror to assess how I looked and I washed in mountain streams ever day to remove caked on sweat and dust. I was liberated in a funny way. Everyone was more beautiful.
It wasn’t parties with food, drink and merriment – there was a nightly campfire where we sat and reminisced about the day, life or nothing at all as we readied our minds and bodies for bed.
It wasn’t Charlie and his kiss, although it was magnificent, and made me realize how much I love kisses! – it was knowing that I was loved and enjoyed because I radiated more than my skinny body showed….I connected heart to heart with people who’d been strangers days earlier.
There was no music, television or books to read. No distractions. Just me, nature, and new friends.
If I could put into words what made me cry on my way back to the dorms and college life, it was that I’d reconnected with God for the first time since I was a child and was going to miss that. I’d awakened in the desert and knew instinctively that I was returning to a spiritual desert of sorts.
I hadn’t a clue how to live my life and stay connected to God and people in meaningful and lasting ways without literally retreating from the world.
And that made me so sad.
I’m a lot older and wiser now, and I really do know what makes me happy and how to feel connected to God (and people) all the time. I have a very strong relationship with him and never feel alone or misunderstood, in need, or lacking in any way. I’ve come to understand that ingratitude and lack of joys is a reflection on the health of my soul.
My one and only need is deep and meaningful connections to God and people.
What makes me happy?
I do. Me. And you do, too. I truly believe that God leads people into my life to meet my needs and theirs even if I don’t understand why or how or for how long..
My joy isn’t a reflection of what or how much I have, it’s a reflection of how full I feel and how willing I am to share myself with others in my path.