Sunday, October 28, 2012

On becoming.

Right now I work at a job in Colorado where I often take kids on hikes through the National Forest, among other activites designed to shove them out of their comfort zones. Most of the students are from LA and have never even walked up a large hill before so needless to say, the trudge up and down the rocky paths through yeild for some interesting complants. "I can't breathe."  I always respond something to the degree of "It's ok if you're breathing hard, it's good for you." "But I'm going to have a heart attack." "Your heart is beating fast. It's ok, it's good for you." "But it hurts." "It's ok, sometimes pain isn't a bad thing. Sometimes, it's good for you."

When I give advice to 17 year olds, I'm often giving advice to myself.

Pain is good for you.

Looking back at the entire journey that brought me here to Colorado, I kind of wish I knew that earlier. Between nights of lonliness being so heavy it cracks my ribs, to mornings where my body was trembling like a new born rodent because I was throwing up so much. Between goodbyes that sound like they're being said underwater and hellos said in such sharp silence you cover your ears. Between packing up as much as I could into my Honda civic and driving halfway across the country, to finally seeing the magnificant Rocky mountains about one year too late.

I always tell people that the three months I lived in Denver before I moved here are three months I try to forget. Those three months simply erased from the Great Colorado Adventure. Because they were horrible. It was numbing. Like a moth fluttering around a lightblub making the sound of a train derailing. I was so embarassed about the person I had become, I wished I had never become anything at all.

God's timing always throws me off. Writing that sentence itself, feels obvious and contrived. But it seemed like just as I was done digging my own grave, He reaches down and takes the blindfold off my fucking face. The blindfold I had tied when I was drunk, with dry hands and dirty nails. Squinting in the light, the brightness burned my retnas.

"Sometimes, pain is good for you."

And I have to say that to myself everytime I think of home. Everytime I think of how badly I need Ohio to hug me. Everytime I realize that not only have I not talked about God in weeks, I haven't thought of Him either. I love my job. I love what I do. I love the students. I love the mountains. I love watching the student's pupils open wide as they love the mountains as I do. It makes my heart swell so big I can feel it in my toes. I would never leave. I look at the mountains and they are so delicious and  magnificant and terrifying. I look at the mountains and I can't help but think, "God is good."

But the memory of Ohio is like a cigarette burn.

"Sometimes, pain is good for you."

I'm excited to see what I will become after these 8 months at the ranch are over. Through the brutal pain, the soft voices of students telling their stories for the first time, through aching for a hand to hold, through mountains that stretch your soul wide. Through forgetting and remembering God: it hurts to become. But, sometimes, pain is good for you.