I was wedged into a pretty uncomfortable plane seat for almost nine hours yesterday, heading home from a wonderful week spent performing and exploring in London and Bath, England. We flew into Atlanta, and then on to Birmingham. I’m not sure what was different about this particular trip; I’ve flown international trips by myself a few times before, and this was a fun and productive adventure. I’ve always gotten homesick on long trips, but for some reason, this time proved to be particularly tough.
Even before I left town, I was a teary mess, missing Dan and home before I’d even walked out the door. Watching movies on the plane, any scene remotely sentimental or romantic had tears seeping from my eyes, leaving me feeling absolutely ridiculous- I mean, at fifty-six, this is not my first travel rodeo. I can only think about how blessed I am to have someone and someplace that mean so very much to me.
I love to travel, love that my career takes me to wonderful places around the globe…but I never feel quite whole until I am back in Dan’s arms again, back with Marley and Shiva at Chez Gainey. It’s not that I always have to have Dan with me- I am a strong and independent woman and enjoy the challenge of navigating these trips on my own. However, Dan is my soulmate, and I enjoy sharing these experiences with him…life is just sweeter when we are together.
Perhaps it was more difficult to leave because I would miss Dan’s Birthday for the second year in a row due to performances out of the country; perhaps I’m getting more and more sentimental the older I become. I have noticed a disturbing shift in my thinking…I had the strongest premonition that something bad would happen on this trip, that I would not come back. The feeling seemed so real that I felt tangible fear about leaving last Sunday. I also have a deep-seated fear that because my life is so happy that something is bound to take it from me. A ridiculous mindset to live by, I know; change is a constant for us all, and all we can do is live our lives the best we can and be grateful for it all, one day at a time.
I had a great talk with Dan about this yesterday, jet lagged as I was (words are hard for me on a good day). I finally opened up and shared the feelings I’d been embarrassed to express. I have gone through a lot of life, a lot of tough times, to get to this place of personal and professional happiness and peace. Especially in these turbulent days, having Dan and our life together is an anchor and a compass for me. I look around me and see how quickly things can change, how unhappy so many people are. I am terrified of sliding down the abyss, of losing whatever fragile hold I have on all of this.
Dan, in all of his Zen perspective, reminded me that we have to appreciate each day, take it for what it is. We can’t control the future, but can only live every moment with an attitude of gratitude. We’ve been through dark days and we will again; that is just the pendulum swing of life. But…it’s how we face both the dark and the light that makes the difference. I choose not to live in fear, but to love my life-all of it. This doesn’t mean that I won’t have to work hard at releasing the firm grasp of worry and fear (I truly think it’s a genetic disposition for me…), but I can do it.
I know this; even if it were all to go away tomorrow, I have had the gift of great love and joy in my life. No one can take that from me. When I travel near or far, that love stays in my heart, woven into my very being. I only have to remind myself of that gift; call out to it, wrapping myself in Love’s armor.