Yesterday when I was driving home from yoga I caught a whiff of something outside of my car window and I could feel my eyebrows shoot up in an attempt to NAME. THE. SMELL. "Why is this familiar? Why is it unfamiliar? What is it?" I asked myself. Then, I realized what it was. It was wetness.
Someone was watering their grass. That's the only explanation anyway, because I don't think it's rained for at least a month. I couldn't see the water but it made its way into my veins.
It smelled like wet earth, like a cool breeze with dirt on its fingers.
Immediately I sighed and felt sad, and looked - literally, looked with my eyes - anrigly at the concrete road I was driving on. You're so damn dry! No one likes dryness like that! The road thinks it's a talent to bake so furiously. It's not, its just pointless stubornness.
Inexplicably (but predicatbly?) my mind wandered to Thailand. If I can't be somewhere with naturally wet earth, how is it possible I'm not, then, in Thailand? We went to Ireland a few months ago, which was on my list. Thailand is on my list, too. So is Israel. But as I was smelling the painfully beautiful wet earth and thinking on Thailand, I suddenly realized that I was framing my thoughts a bit differently than I usually do, when they are flying across the oceans. I didn't feel anxious. I didn't feel urgent, or guilty. I didn't feel like the fact that I was driving home in sweat-soaked spandex on a ridiculously cracked-earth road in Phoenix meant I was wasting something. (Time? Me?) That was revolutionary, to start.
Then I saw a woman walking down the sidewalk, with a stroller, and I imagined what her day had been like. Maybe she had been at home all day. Not even a shower to speak of. Was she ok with that? Were her thoughts in Thailand?
And of course I then transposed myself in front of that stroller, with a showerless day behind me, and something clicked. Of course nothing was wasted. There was a little person in front of me that I Gave Up Things for. The world isn't huge, it's tiny. Full of people who either give things up or don't, and I want to be one who gives them up. That's what I was made for. That's how we work. We're not working right now because we're not giving things up.
You would think that the world feeling smaller to me would be sad, or would mean a loss of some kind of dreaminess or innocence. It's not! It's a deep sigh of relief! If me being here means I have Something to give up; Something that someone else needs, then I couldn't waste me if I tried. Thailand or no, the sidewalk of a dry road with a stroller is Thailand and everywhere else. It could be all of me, one day.
It made me think of a beautiful lyric I heard one, from a song I love - "Outside, creation groans..."
The road was groaning, and so was I, because there's so much to do and see and be, and we aren't doing and seeing and being all of them. But! To know that we're groaning for a home that we can have - with a Creator who gave me Things to Give Up - that makes the groaning sweet. Sweet like a sore-muscled sigh after 90 minutes of Bikram.