By: Kyle Elden
This life I’ve been given, precious and unique – my one and only. Each day a miracle filled with boundless amazing gifts. I can’t help it! I’m smitten with you life, downright grateful. I’m grace intoxicated, buzzed on happiness – joy spins circles and makes me dizzy, leaves me smiling. The sun rose like a rosey-red faced little kid playing peek-a-boo, poking her sweet little head right over the broken open lake today, all that ice melted away from the warm almost-spring rainfall, back into its other form, water (so sure of herself, moving and flowing, you would never know she was once frozen, she was stuck) – that holy moly sunrise brushed my kitchen wall with gorgeous pink light as Andrew Bird sang and whistled me into this new day. And yes, I was alone so I danced a bit, I spun, I made goofy faces and laughed at myself in the mirror. And I don’t care if I look like a nut cuz I’m happy as hell. A little dark roast coffee with raw honey and cream, a petite garden salad with dripping wet sliced oranges, runny yellow beautiful soft-boiled eggs and Third Street Bakery 8 grain toast with melted butter glistening across the top. And freaking a’ the lake is shimmering as the sun floats up out of the darkness, now all golden and aglow - throwing down a light show right out my back window, filling in every shadow. Grace, grace I drink you up in all of this until I’m absolutely intoxicated, until I’m filled with these blessings like a fizzy water, a carbonated drink all shook up and overflowing the moment the lid is cracked…and grace, I drink you up in my water with fresh squeezed lemon. You follow me wherever I go. You are the water that splashes against my skin as I wash my face. You are the breath I breathe. You are my daughter’s smile, and freckles and little hand wrapped inside my hand, staying in bed just a little longer on a school/work day to cuddle with her sleepy little lovebug self – her head of dark curls nestled in on my shoulder just under my chin, arms tangled up in one another. You are the Atlantic ocean and seashells and A1A Beachfront Avenue that I just visited and makes me sing the Vanilla Ice song rockin’ lovers driving Lamborghinis that I know every freaking word to and I’m the girl in the bikini with my friends in the sun and my little girl doing tornado tricks in the pool. You are the sweet taste of a gin and tonic with a touch of grapefruit and the soft sting of a fresh sunburn, a succulent juicy burger with melted cheese and ketchup dripping down my chin, dripping onto the plate, and sweet, sweet watermelon bursting in my mouth. You are the faces of my family and friends and invitations to different states with cactuses and the best holy mother of god single-track rocky trails imaginable to run along, sweat gleaming on every inch of my skin and mountain ranges all around. You are SeaWorld and Shamu, pink flamingos and the magic in my daughter’s eyes. You are wine and beer with good people and laughing til’ our stomachs hurt, making up crazy dances to old school 90’s music of Prince and Rex in Effex and Naughty By Nature Hip Hop Hooray, and Madonna– we’ve got the running man and roger rabbit down, around-the-clock and fancy basket ball moves with lay-ups rocking across this club’s dance floor. You are skinny dipping in Lake Superior under summer stars and a plump peach moon, standing around a bonfire dripping wet with smiles and stories. You are sharing green smoothies with friends or freshly juiced apple carrot juice and homemade, four bowls worthy, venison stroganoff. You are sun-salutations to sunrise and falling down on hard packed snow with guttural laughter with my daughter, stumbling over one another and skis hand in hand, teaching her to downhill ski on Spirit Mountian’s bunny hill. You are dance parties in the living room and my daughter’s funky fashion shows, Cyndi Lauper style with red high heels five sizes too big and pink crooked ballet tutu. You are oh my goodness crab legs dipped in a deep cup of melted butter with chives, watching Bridesmaids eating vanilla bean cheesecake slathered in Brandy peach blueberry sauce laughing our guts out, or slopping through a pint Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food watching Chappelle’s Show laughing til’ we cry. You are also in these tear and mascara and snot saturated crumpled up napkins from broken hearts, and deep cracks, and obstacles we bump into and mountains we all find ourselves climbing up, scrapped up knees and blurred vision. You are in the holding on with nails dug in to the skin of that which is changing or has already died, the letting it fly away like the ashes from this fire made with dead branches of trees we planted together - all orange sparks and smoke blowing away forever. In the saying goodbye, all the memories, memories imprinted in my mind, on my heart for eternity.....You are the cold feel of my grandma’s skin on her forehead, after she’s died when I say goodbye, the smell of her on her hair I savor for the last, last time. You are the hand on my shoulder, the utterings of prayers, the strong arms that hold me as I sob. You are the phone calls, the listening ears, the kindness that overwhelms, blows in like an east wind and sweeps you off your feet. You are all this love bubbling up from the beginning of time, the love that is painted by God in the marrow of our bones, as sure as the blood that flows through our bodies, the love that draws us through life like a magnet waltzing, whether we know it or not, with the One who gives us this gift. So look up, look up – look around – yes, notice, notice where you are, who you are, what you are – and make your life, with all its cracks and scars, with all its brilliance and light, a prayer, a great love story, a beautiful offering.