On God, College, and Growing Up

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I think sometimes there is a God, and then the axes of logic and reason come a’swinging like “Here’s Johnny” Jack Nicholson.

As humans we lose 50 to 100 hairs a day.  Our bodies are completely renewed every nine years.  Me physically, is in no way what it was nine years ago, but what makes me me stayed consistent.  My soul is there, like a cargo ship carrying athleticism and a squeaky laugh in it’s hull.

This blonde haired, cellulited body has housed sorority girls and wishy washy Catholics – girls who cared about wildly different shit.  One wanted to surf 150 days in one year, another ditched every sorority function possible.  Another spent every night awake for months, and one got MVP for field hockey.  Those girls painted my nails a million different colors, and cycled through eye glasses and friends.  One pulled espresso shots, another wrote book reviews.

And in all the lives I’ve led, there’s so much I’ve forgotten.  Like that cigarette confessional when you asked me why we’re here, and the way you used to look at me.  I can’t remember the names of my teachers or what it felt like to love you.  But what makes me me is still there.  You can’t know where your soul is – but I think if a soul lived in a person, it would live in their eyes.

Three years ago, the face looking back at me in the mirror was younger.  Things were easier.  Because let’s not kid ourselves: college life was simpler.  And when you’re in the city of your alma mater walking past lawns littered with red plastic cups and beer bottles, you remember the ease of it.  I just passed a teenager wearing jean shorts so short I could see butt cheek.  And it made me realize: I wouldn’t go back.

Last Saturday, in my hotel room window, an orb of gold light flowered into the dark purple night at the tops of oak trees.  Dawn hit Boulder, and for hours I’d laid awake thinking, is God real?  Will I fail?  What’s going to happen to me?  Should I just get up and make coffee even though it’s 5:15 in the morning?  But something dwelled there in that dawn, something whispered at me, “Don’t worry so much.  Life is going to be great for you.”

It’s hard to describe what that something is, but I think everyone senses it.  No matter what your beliefs may be.

As I change and forget, fall in and out of love, vow to quit smoking and then throw in the towel for Native American Spirits at 7 Eleven, there seems to be a something else through it all.  A current running underneath the new lighters and boy-induced tears.  There’s a string tying my batter’s box days to the cafe in Prague where I’d smoke cigarettes and drink coffee while doing my homework.

Watching relationships enter and exit our lives; seeing jobs we lose; and events that devastate us, witnessing all that there’s an undercurrent.  It gets in your face when you’re holding your daughter’s hand for the first time.  You feel it when you’re dropping out of a helicopter on skis.  You find it at the top of the Cornice Bowl and in starry nights on the plains of the Serengeti with a quiet so profound you’re not sure you’ll ever find it again.  I’m a Catholic that rotted, but I think there’s something.  And the more I’m aware of that something – the more I’m aware of the mystery and beauty – the better life I’ll lead.

I’m not a planner.  I’m more a, “I’m scared so of this I’m going to avoid it,” person.  So there’s a life in me, and likely in you, too, that hasn’t been lived.  Why not me to win the Pulitzer Prizes and board flights for book signings?  Why not me to experience wild success that involves designer bags and prolific creativity?  I want to see my name in more places.  I want to practice writing.  I want to do great things, too.  And I think chasing those kind of dreams are part of that mysterious something that makes you feel the most alive.  Is it God?  That’s not for me to determine, but I believe it’s something.

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Like a novel isn’t just words, that anxious girl’s dawn wasn’t just a sunrise.  There’s life in stories, and there’s hope and wonder in that dawn.

I don’t know anything for sure.  I don’t know whether choosing the writing road full of potholes and roadblocks will lead to failure or success.  But something tells me it’s the right thing.  I feel it will be hard, and oftentimes painful, but infinitely rewarding.  Something tells me.

So while I wait for Mr. Right, write my book, and work hard for my paychecks, I will try to be brave.  I will try to remember the mystery, which is my best understanding of God, to light up my darkness.  I’ll remember that there’s something else in me, and in you too, and we don’t know everything that is going on.  Life is unpredictable, beautiful, and I believe there is something.

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