Monday, September 1, 2014

Something to Wonder About

Yesterday I got my nails done. I took my Nook and hung out at the salon for an amazing hour (or more) and enjoyed the sheer bliss of being pampered.

Sometimes when I go to these salons, I feel ill at ease. The girls are so young and I wonder about their lives. Are they happy? Is this genuinely their vocation of choice? Why do they work such long hours? But the first time I went to this particular salon, the girl that painted my fingernails began to talk to me. She spoke English quite well and informed me that she actually attended Fletcher Academy. She had come over from Vietnam to live with her aunt and her aunt had scoped out various local schools and happened upon Fletcher. And so she proceeded to tell me how she was saving money, working long hours, and planning to head to school in a year. She was vibrant and young and happy. She laughed with her co-workers and they all seemed quite content.

And so, that has become my salon of choice. And honestly, maybe they're all just fine. I really don't know...I just wonder.

I wonder about a lot of things.

Roy and I went to see a movie last night and one of the scenes portrayed girls in a strip bar. It showed nothing--just let the audience know the setting--but I couldn't help but wonder about that. What's it like to be someone who works in a strip bar? Is that really the job of choice? Is there job satisfaction? Are you happy?

Savana attended a local event yesterday in Asheville where they served free beer. And so she came home laughing with stories of people doing really silly things as the general audience became more and more drunk as the afternoon progressed. And I wondered about that, too. What is the point? Especially when the next day you're going to be so miserable! Why put yourself through that?

Those are the obvious things to wonder about. But sometimes I wonder about things that are closer to home. I wonder why people react the way they do, or say the things they do. I wonder why I do the things I do because, well, sometimes I don't make much sense either.

So much goes into who we become once we are adults. If I were born in another country with a completely different set of surroundings, I would be a totally different person. That is inevitable. I find that interesting; baffling.

Who would I be if I were born in Iran (or is it Iraq or is it either one) to a family who was part of the Taliban?

I can't imagine. And happens. Every day.

I remember when we lived in Missouri we lived near an Amish community. It was so interesting driving through their peaceful setting and passing horse-drawn buggies filled with giggling children and somber parents riding down the road. They owned several little stores there and I went to one of those on a fairly regular basis. They had really cheap canned goods and homemade bakery items that were quite delicious. Anyway, one time when I was there, a lady came in and she saw me--the only "English woman" in the store at the time. She came straight over to where I was standing and began to speak so loudy about these Amish people and how weird they were. But what she didn't know is that the girl who ran the store was a few feet away behind a wall that she couldn't see. And I so tried to hush her...SSShhh...she's right there!....but she prattled on, laughing hysterically. I was so uncomfortable that I tried to walk away so as not to be associated with this woman. But the girl came out and saw us together, heard her talking--and I was so deeply embarrassed.

At the time, we worked at Sunnydale Academy. This small academy is about five miles out from a small town called Centralia. It's in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by open fields on all sides, but a major road runs by it. As one drives by the academy,  one can see this little community of houses and school buildings and people milling about. One particular time I remember walking outside and a pickup filled with people was speeding down the highway. But suddenly it slowed down exponentially and one of the people in the cab rolled down the window. And then, they all craned their necks, peering quizzically at this weird school in the middle of nowhere. A commune of sorts. Once they were past us, they roared on and I couldn't help but laugh.

They looked at us just like we looked at the Amish.

Life is all about perspective and so much goes into that. I am so thankful for my own life--for the bounty of riches I enjoy. And by riches, I am referring to so much life has to offer: my amazing man and my incredible kids and good food and faithful friends and a place to call home and adorable pets and a car that runs and devoted parents and living in the USA and growing up on the plains of Oklahoma and the Internet and so much, much more.

Life is filled with questions and things to wonder about. Sometimes I create my own things to wonder about as I, too, can be baffling. We all can be at times. But I am so grateful to have the gift of life and all that it offers. And sometimes, life throws curveballs.

One of my sweet friends, Katie, was just diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. The prognosis isn't good. That's something that gives one pause in the midst of buying groceries and preparing for the next day of work.

That's something to wonder about.

But I have today. I have today to make the most of my life...and when it comes down to it, that's all that I can do. That's all any of us can day at a time.

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