Last night I drove to Tucson to see one of my dearest friends, Juliana, who I call Ju-boo. About ten years ago Ju-boo and I drove through Tucson on our way to live in LA for the summer. It was both of our first times living outside of our parents house not on a college campus and the beginning of a friendship that I know will last the rest of our lives. I love her dearly. Ju-boo now lives in Austin but was in Tucson staying at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort for a business trip and I am in Phoenix for vacation. Perfect timing. A few months ago we were lucky enough to be in NYC at the same time too! Anyway we went to Oregano’s and then stayed up late talking. It was wonderful.

Unfortunatley, she had to leave early in the morning so our time together was much too short. She left around 6:30 am. Alone in the hotel room I peeked out the drapes. The sun was starting to come up and everything was a mix of Impressionistic colors slightly fuzzy waiting for the warmth and glare of the sun to reveal the details that were hidden in the dawn. I considered going back to sleep because it is rare for me to find time to sleep in. But then realized it was even more rare for me to watch the rocky mountains of Tucson wake up in solidtude. I pulled a blanket off the bed and situated myself in a chair on the balcony with my Bible. The mountains turned from shades of violet and navy blue to a golden hues of tan speckled with green and brown. I love the desert. I find it beautiful. It is so mysterious and sublime. I feel captivated by it’s hostility toward man and curious about the creatures who can survive its unforgiving terrain. Okay, I know I’m no Shelley writing about Mont Blanc, but it was gorgeous and peaceful beyond words. So, I read some Psalms and then read Phillippians. That book has really been speaking to me lately. Probably because it is the first and only thing I have read in the Bible in months! The other day Nathanael drew me a drawing with Phillipians 4:13 written on it and since then I keep going back to that book. When the sun had fully risen, I tried to go back to bed unsucessfully. After reading a bit of USA Today I decided to go sit in the spa. The spa was located, along with three other pools, in the center the hotel, a man-made oasis. I sat in the spa chatting with my mom for a while. Then headed over to the pool and read a few chapters from Kitchen Confidential. It’s supposed to be a funny memoir about the author’s life as a chef. It’s okay. After too many pages of few too laughs, I decided to go for a swim. I felt like what one of those beta fish you buy in the tiny little bowls must feel like when they are transferred into a larger tank. The pool was huge and I had it all to myself. I felt small and happy floating while looking at the mountains, doing strokes wtih crappy technique and swimming underwater pretending to be an eel. Finally, before leaving I decided I wanted to go down the 143 foot faux rock waterslide a few times. I walked over to find it closed because there was not an attendant on duty. But if there was no one on duty, then there was no one to catch me. Besides I figured, what would they say, don’t do that. It had been along time since I felt so free, like going skinny dipping in highschool with my girlfriends.

After my brief act of civilized rebellion 🙂 I took a shower and packed up to drive back to Phoenix. I have always loved driving on the freeway, but since having kids it has become more often a chore than an escape or therapy. A few more hours of freedom and solitude and I wanted to make the most of it. Driving makes me feel like my cells are opening up, taking a big breath, and shouting “Yeehaw!” or “Rock On!” in earnest. I searched for a Christian station hoping to to stay in a mindset of Jesusy awe, but couldn’t find any, at least any I could stomach. So I asked God to speak to me through, heaven forbid, “secular” music. I didn’t hear any specifics but I felt freedom and peace from deep within as I barreled down interstate 10 in my Grandpa’s Buick. I listened to mostly classic rock and 80’s. I did hear Snow Patrols “Chasing Cars” part of it speaks to me on a spritual level. And I one point, I found myself singing the chorus of the Scorpions, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” to God, but with a slight change, “He I am. Rock ME like a hurricane.”. Totally dorky, I know. I likened it to asking God to light the fire, which in my opinion, is a pretty wierd thing to ask, although I have and do from time to time. I don’t know, but in the moment it felt appriate and I felt up to the challenge. By the way, I’m not claiming that the Scorps are a Godly band by any means, the rest of the lyrics of the song, which I had to look up when I got home, are in my opinion, sad and pathetic. I just feel like, and some may disagree and that okay, God sometimes uses the most unlikely people and things to move us, even the Scorpians. Two hours later, with one almost careless running our of gas incident, I arrived back at the condo happy and cheerful feeling renewed ready to gather my boys and Brent up in my arms.
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