Friday, April 17, 2009


I've never really wanted to own my own something or other. Well, except maybe a house. But what I mean is, I've never had aspirations to own a dance studio, a theater company, a music school.

I really just want to perform. And sometimes teach for other people who own those things.

But if I ever found myself in the unfortunate position of owning something, this policy...
...might not be such a bad idea. Some might call it being lazy; I call it a different um, approach to running a business.

Perhaps I am what you would call a forward thinker, which is why you haven't learned this in business school. Yet.

And when I was out wandering around downtown Chicago today, I came across these two young women. Their shirts intrigued me. Having obviously designed them themselves to say FREE HUGS across the front as well as ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE across the back, I just had to ask them about their operation.

As soon as I walked up to them and said hello, they immediately jumped up and were ready to cross the distance into what I feared would be a huge embrace. I didn't know if they double-teamed you or not, and didn't want to take the chance, so I immediately said, I'm sorry but I really don't want a hug before I found myself a reluctant and claustrophobic monkey in the middle, so to speak.

They sat back down in resignation.
I asked them why they were giving out free hugs and they said because anybody could use one.
Ah, anybody but me, apparently.
I asked them how long they had been there and they replied, half an hour.
Oh cool, I said, and how many hugs have you given here?
None, they said quietly.
I wished them luck and was on my way, albeit without a hug thankyouverymuch.

And then I just took advantage of the fresh spring day and walked all over Millennium Park. I felt so peaceful walking and dreaming on my own, thoughts jumbling around but not in a bad way at all.
I saw this sign and thought it could work well for each one of us.
I also felt this overwhelming sense of hope for the future. This peace in knowing that I am exactly where I am meant to be. I read this sign--
and felt, metaphorically, it was for me. That I am so welcome to be here now, that this path that I am on is exactly what I need to grow me and could I just please continue to stay on it.

That's not so hard. One foot in front of the other, right? Trusting that God knows where that next bend leads, trusting that it's a good place, and for now? Just stay on the path, please.

I was walking along a garden that hadn't really begun to bear much yet this spring. I was just looking at the dry, dead plants left over from last season.
When I saw these. Some vivid hyacinths, peeking through the foliage.
It only takes a moment, doesn't it? We never know what bit of beauty is right about to break ground in our lives. I have a friend who has been seen for the Broadway show, In The Heights, many times, and she just recently got that phone call that she was hired. And in that instant her life changed. There is a woman who was trying for years and years to get pregnant, her dream being motherhood, and at the brink of giving up, she finally did.

Just like that.

I myself didn't know if I would ever actually get this show. I had been in for them so many times, I had begun to feel a little jaded concerning it, and then bam! the job was mine.

And my life changed.

There is reason to believe that more good than bad is around the corner, I think.
Reason to believe that our hopes and dreams are not forgotten,
laying somewhere at the bottom of a well. And if they are, well maybe that is the best place for them right now. Maybe the waters are cleansing and have the ability to separate the dross from the worth. Either way, it's okay.

Or at least it will be.

Whatever happened, that walk was like soul food. Maybe it was the fact that the day was actually warm enough to make nature pleasant, rather than make me wrap my arms around myself a little tighter.

Or maybe it was the fact that the sun was out. Completely.
And it was in my eyes, for sure, but today I didn't mind it at all.


Nina said...

Wow, Jess. What a great post. Soul food for us too. I love it when I can hear God speak in the everyday things. Thanks for sharing what you saw and heard. "Art work in progress." That's fantastic -- and a potentially life-changing idea, I think.

kathiek said...

Wonderful post, Jess, thanks! Cool red-winged blackbird, too.
I felt sorry for those two girls, I hope they got to give out some free hugs...I would have hugged them.
I love Spring! It's like God giving the whole world a second chance...again.

Jessica Latshaw said...

True about spring, kathie--and that is so nice that you would have hugged those girls. I am just not a hugger by instinct and I really don't enjoy hugging strangers;-(

And I love "art work in progress" as well, Nina;-)