Maybe Starbucks is the best dating app

One day last week, I had some time to kill before my hair appointment, so I went to a Starbucks nearby so that I could use the Wi-Fi and work on a few things I needed to complete. I don’t actually like coffee, so I usually just buy an Ethos bottled water so that I feel like I’m giving at least a little financial contribution while I’m using the free internet there. Plus, it helps children have access to clean water, so I’m a fan.

I opted for one of the cozier chairs and noticed a good-looking man sitting in one of the four of them. The other three were open, so I sat at one somewhat across from him after double-checking with him that it wasn’t occupied. He had his headphones in and appeared to be on a call. I tried listening in every once in a while to figure out what type of businessman he is—people fascinate me, so I’m always curious to learn more about them.

Thanks to a small bladder and kidney stones that won’t quit, it wasn’t long before I needed to use the restroom. I didn’t want to pack up all of my stuff and risk losing my chair (there weren’t that many people there, so it honestly wasn’t a great possibility), so when it sounded like Cute Guy wasn’t on the phone anymore, I got his attention.

Me: Hey, do you mind watching my stuff for a few minutes while I run to the restroom?
CG: How do you know I’m not going to steal it?
Me: We both know you’re not.
CG (noticing my Avengers Band-Aid on my knee): How’d you get your owie?
Me (immediately falling for someone who uses the word “owie”): I cut myself shaving.
CG: That’s not a very good story.
Me: You didn’t let me finish. I reopened a wound that I got while hiking the Incan Mountains in Peru. I noticed a llama off in the distance and became distracted, so I went after it, and I wasn’t paying attention, so I tripped on a rock and gashed open my knee. When I was shaving, I forgot about it and ripped the scab off. Hence the Band-Aid.
CG (with a swoon-worthy smirk on his face): Yeah, that’s definitely a better story.

Just wondering if I should go back to Starbucks soon

I walked to the restroom with a sense of pride at being able to create a fib so quickly. I’m not sure if it’s actually a quality I want to have, but I felt like it benefitted me in this particular instance. Also, I do realize that they’re actually called the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains, so maybe I’m not that great of a liar after all.

When I came back, I thanked him but also let him know that I told him I knew he wasn’t a criminal. He blamed it on the fact that there were security cameras in place. Touché, guy.

Not too long after that, I looked at my watch and decided it was time to leave for my appointment. As I stood up again, CG took out his ear phones and said “You can’t leave me.” I explained that I had an appointment, and he said something else I don’t really remember because I was staring into his eyes trying not to fall for some guy I may never see again but also secretly hoping that he’d ask for my number.

Dear Hollywood, why isn’t reality always like a romcom? Sincerely, a hopeful romantic.

We tied for first but then got third because we didn’t know the Rotten Tomatoes score for 10 Things I Hate About You (eye roll).

In hindsight, perhaps I should have asked for his. I need to stop assuming that every good-looking man in this world has a girlfriend. As one of my friends pointed out, it would have been a good moment to have a business card on hand. How stalkerish would it be to show up at the same Starbucks on the same day around the same time? And how much do I actually care? I mean, I know I’m not a psycho.

Maybe he didn’t see when I tried to suavely move my sunglasses from on top of my head to my face and got them stuck in my hair. But maybe it’s better if he did. It’s good for people to know others’ quirks.

And I happen to have a lot of those.

In other news, it’s Wednesday, so I’m going to share the things for which I’m thankful this week:

  • 10 Things I Hate About You trivia night on Monday—such a blast with some of my gals.
  • The changes that just keep happening in my life, even though some of them are more challenging than others.
  • Running with my brother and sister lately. I cherish those times.
  • My new community group, which is full of women who pour out the love of Jesus like flour in cake batter (I think that’s an accurate comparison) and make every single human feel valued and adored.

What are you Wednesday pieces of gratitude this week?

Because we all have our own unique ways of healing

The healing process is an interesting thing because it looks completely different for everyone.

Especially when it’s your heart that needs mending.

I adore every second with my nieces. They’re the actual most precious humans alive, and I can’t be convinced otherwise. Olivia, who is almost 3, is getting smarter and smarter each time I see her, and I swear that her vocabulary increases 13-fold every week.

Highlight of my week every week

That little angel has been teaching me so many things about life since the day she entered this world. When she was born, I was going through one of the most difficult periods of my life and wasn’t very good about dealing with all of the emotions I felt. I was hurt and betrayed and felt so many more things that I couldn’t quite process. She had colic, so I would hold her in my arms while she wailed, and I would tell her everything that was on my heart. I told myself that the tears she couldn’t help but cry were partially shed for me, since I wasn’t able to let me own fall.

In the moments when we were together and the colic wasn’t as bad, she would quietly listen to all that I had to say, and I like to think that she was giving me some pretty solid words of comfort and affirmation in her head. I heard ya, girl.

Now that she’s older, she’s able to feel people’s pain for them and shows a genuine concern when she thinks someone is hurting. When I was spending time with them on Saturday, Olivia saw a Band-Aid on my knee and said that she needed one, too. I was changing Evie’s diaper and said I’d get her one as soon as I was finished. Olivia then jumped on a pillow and yelled “owie!” and grabbed her knee and said again that she needed a Band-Aid.

We went through about seven different Band-Aids because she kept changing her mind on whether she wanted Dory or Nemo, and she wasn’t happy with me that those were the only options in my purse. I told her that my Wonder Woman ones were at home, and Avengers were in my work desk, but she eventually was happy with Dory. It’s funny, though, because her knee “wound” must have transferred to her arm, because that’s where the Band-Aid ended up after she had removed three or four from her knee.

Just over here putting Band-Aids on legs with no owies to stop tears

At one point, Evie started crying, so Olivia took her used Band-Aid and put it on Evie’s leg, saying “Sugar needs one—she’s sad.” OH, MY HEART. I love the innocent simplicity of her logic: Someone is hurting, and there’s an easy way to make the pain go away. There’s no overthinking anything or worrying about if you’re actually going to be OK. Instead, you just put a Band-Aid over the pain, and it somehow makes it feel better.

I wish that it were always that easy.

I wouldn’t describe myself as being good at dealing with pain. In fact, my strategy is usually to ignore it. I once ran a half marathon on a fractured hip because I didn’t want to acknowledge an injury. I also went an entire day at work with a giant kidney stone trying to travel through my body because I figured that the pain would go away if I ignored it long enough. It didn’t work, and I ended up having two surgeries because that stone was too big and got stuck and created some issues.

I tend to do the same with emotional pain—I ignore it as long as possible until I can’t anymore. It’s not really the best idea, because I usually end up not letting myself cry when I should, so all of my emotions bottle up, and then I turn into Niagara Falls when my tear ducts can’t contain the tears anymore. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I’m pretty sure that it’s not healthy.

Healing looks different for everyone, and there’s really no set timetable for how long it takes each person. You may have a broken bone that takes nine weeks to heal, while someone else’s only takes six. Your broken heart may feel like it’s never going to mend, while your friend was able to bounce back pretty quickly after a breakup. You may need to throw rocks at a building when you’re going through heartache, while your friend might need to lie on the couch and wallow.

When I was a young kid, I had a horrible wipeout when I got going too fast while riding a steep downhill and hit a divot in the sidewalk. I still have a bad scar from it, and I remember there being a lot of blood. I honestly don’t remember a ton about the pain, but I do remember that my mom made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and suddenly everything was OK. It’s like there was a powerful healing love in that sandwich that made the hurting disappear.

When I moved to California, for me, healing meant sitting on a lifeguard tower and staring out at the ocean. It’s where I felt the most peace. It’s where I felt the Lord’s presence most strongly and was reminded of just how big and powerful His love and grace are. It’s where I was reminded of the vast expanse of the ocean and how small I am in comparison to it, yet how significant I still am to the God who created the ocean and everything in it—and the same God who also created me.

It’s kind of like those moments of solitude on Tower 13 were giant Band-Aids for my heart.

I’ve learned that comparisons are usually not healthy. Whether you’re comparing yourself to other people or to yourself from years ago, you’re likely going to create your own feelings of inadequacy by doing so. But you are who you are on purpose and with purpose, and you’ve taken the journey you have with intention, as well—including the pain you’ve faced and the healing you’ve gone through to be rid of it.

Surrounding yourself with good people helps, too.

I wish that Olivia’s tactics were always effective and that putting a Band-Aid on your leg or arm would make all of your pain go away. Whatever your healing looks like—whether it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or paying money to go break things in a giant rooms (very therapeutic) or eating ice cream in your pajamas or a number of other activities you can do to take your mind off of what you don’t want to think about—it’s unique to you and what you need. Don’t feel like you have to do things the way someone else did, and don’t worry if it takes longer than you thought or hoped it would. You’ll get there eventually, and hopefully you’ll remember what made you heal more than you’ll remember the pain itself.

And you’ll likely be grateful that you went through everything you did to get to where you are now.

Pain hurts; love doesn’t

Pain is such an inconvenience.

Oh, and it just plain hurts.

I think one of the most frustrating things about pain is that it often leaves us with the inevitable question: WHY?? And sometimes there really doesn’t seem to be a reasonable explanation.

When I was younger, I was attempting to make a grilled cheese the old-fashioned way–and I’ve mentioned how horrible I am in the kitchen–and I needed to know if the stove was hot enough, so I reached down and touched it. With my bare finger. And it hurt. Now, obviously the resulting burn and pain that went along with it were products of my sheer stupidity. I pretty much brought that pain upon myself.

However, not all pain seems so deserved.

Since last October, I’ve been dealing with plantar fasciitis. It’s a pretty common problem for runners, but for months now it’s gotten to the point where I feel like I’m constantly walking on a knife. I’ve tried basically every method that everyone else has told me cured them: I’ve done Graston Technique treatments, I’ve gotten a cortisone injection, I’ve slept with those uncomfortable splints and socks, I’ve rolled on baseballs and frozen water bottles, and I’ve even watched as a doctor drew two ounces of my own blood from my arm and then injected it into my heel with the idea that it inflames the foot and then breaks up the fascia tissue. That last one was by far the most painful–I was literally crawling around my apartment later that day, because I was unable to walk. I’ll tell you what: I do not envy babies. Crawling is awful.

It’s just annoying not knowing why I have to have this nuisance in my life. I’ve run for years without any foot troubles, and then this came and won’t go away. I think a lot of people go through similar situations, though perhaps not with plantar fasciitis. We all face times in life when we have to deal with pain–whether physical or emotional–and we are left wondering what in the heck we did to merit such things. For instance, if you’ve ever had a broken heart, you wonder how someone you cared about and you thought cared about you could treat you so carelessly. And you have no answers at the time (or maybe ever). I know I’ve found myself so many times crying out, “What did I do to deserve this?”

And then I remember that’s not how it works.

sushi?
Looks of pain

If I really got everything I deserved in life, I would be in a much worse state than I am. I’ve received so much grace and mercy, and it’s silly to think I’m never going to struggle. After all, it’s during times of pain and troubles that we often become stronger people, because we can’t rely on ourselves. We have to trust that Someone much more powerful than we will ever be will carry us through.

I think pain also helps us appreciate those times we don’t have it. I can’t think of as many instances in life where I’ve been healthy and happy and spending much time wondering what I did to deserve it. And, as hard as it is, I think it’s important to be thankful in both trials and good times. (I am secretly saying that to try to encourage myself, because I don’t necessarily feel very thankful right now.)

I know this may sound strange, but I don’t really care: sometimes when I get a cut or something that necessitates a Band-Aid, I get kind of excited, because I only wear cool Band-Aids (like fairies or Spiderman or the Peanuts gang). Even if I’m not thinking about the healing process, the thought of a fun bandage mentally helps. Maybe that’s what we can do in other areas of life–just picture a giant, neat Band-Aid helping make you smile when you don’t want to.

Truth be told, life can be hard at times, but we have to endure those struggles to become the people we are supposed to be. And, even when we want to hate so many things around us, it’s important always to let love win, because it always does in the end, anyway.

And, in spite of what the band Nazareth told us, true love does not actually hurt.

It heals–and we could all use a little bit of healing every now and then.