Cheerful friends are good medicine. I found this out when my friend Marlene decided to spend Sunday with me, bringing the right dose of medicine I needed with her presence. Truly, it was the best day ever! We caught up, shared stories, laughed over inside jokes that were decades old, and wondered how we had let so much time go by since last seeing each other.
Our first stop was at Stella G’s. Sitting and chatting over brunch, two hours flew by like ten minutes, and we found ourselves being the last table as the staff closed down their Sunday Brunch shift.
Next, we headed to Kittatinny Park—a perfect place for quiet contemplation and to enjoy nature at your heart’s content! On our way, I turned on a CD of mine and we enjoyed listing to a course on the language of feelings, navigation through fears, dynamics of beliefs systems, and other words of wisdom that added depth to our otherwise uneventful drive, offering us another level of connection that day.
When we arrived at the park, we left the car under a shaded area off the main trail and continued listening to the disc. Basking in the sun coming through the sunroof, we lounged comfortably in the SUV with smiles on our faces. Suddenly, we heard the unique sound of something fly in through the sunroof and crash land onto the dashboard. This bug was like no other—with prominent eyes and well-developed wings—it made a sound like someone pressing scissors against a grind wheel in rapid succession. Of course, it scared us out of our minds and we both jumped out of the vehicle in utter insect-phobia and full-blown panic. Marlene had taken her shoes off and stood barefoot on the park ground while I dropped my cell phone and scrambled to find it. Both the driver and front passenger doors remained open in hopes of encouraging the unwelcome visitor to make a quick escape. With the passerby’s either clearly amused or passively curious, we felt hopeless in the chances of anyone coming to our rescue. After what seemed like an hour, but probably only 10 minutes or so, I saw a hiker passing by and ran over to ask for help. When I told him what the problem was, he asked me to describe the bug. As I described the four-inch-long creature, we quickly walked over to the car. He took a napkin out of his pocket, lifted the bug, and freed it without a care in the world. Stunned speechless (and pretty embarrassed), we profusely thanked him and hopped back into the car (this time with the sunroof shut!) and got the heck out of there!
Cheerful friends are good medicine.
As we pulled away, Marlene turned to me with a grin and uttered, “How is the fear thing working for you now, Phyllis?” We both laughed hysterically. In that instant, however, I felt my fear stimulate my adrenaline levels and make my heart take flight—it was an unscripted moment in life! While we may not understand the reasoning or timing behind an unscripted moment, the rising uncertainty that accompanies the experience is like a pulse-check of what we can handle and, more importantly, what we do to utilize the moment and surpass it. Despite insect-phobia interfering with my experience this time around… Courage doesn’t always roar, right?
There are some days it takes courage to get out of bed and face the day, while other days demand a fighting courage—one that gets you to rise and stand up for what is right. During our day in Kittatinny Park, courage was asking a stranger to get a cicada out of my car, even if it meant facing the accompanying embarrassment of looking helpless, even silly! Forgetting that we looked like lunatics, off the side path with car doors open, Marlene and I survived and transcended the unscripted moment.
In the end, that cicada bug was like a momentary present; a chance reminder to be gentle with those who have fears we may not understand. To be honest, there are times that I can be slightly judgmental of others over their struggles caused by unrealistic fears or anxieties. At times, my ego convinces me that my truth surpasses all others. And when I get on the “hamster wheel” of life each day, doing whatever I do again and again, I must remember that the unfolding of God’s love is always there. Our emotions, all we strive to overcome, are put before us for a purpose—to bond us closely with His unconditional love.
In the end, embracing life unscripted certainly builds character! Some of the most sudden, unscripted moments in today’s world (e.g., tweets, pictures, videos, etc.) have earned an individual or group unexpected notoriety, wealth, awareness, and support through viral sharing!
So, why not a cicada in Kittatinny Park on a hot summer day? Why can’t that be a moment I take to heart? No experience is ever wasted, and when in such great company as with a dear friend, it also offers an unforgettable memory!