Staying in the Moment
Start writing about where you are right now. Sounds easy.
Right now I am balancing between yesterday's events and where to go from here. My life is an imperfect beautiful mess. Or maybe it isn't. I don't know. I will just share my recent experience and maybe you relate. Maybe you won't. What I know is that my experiences aren't meant to run around in my head alone because my story is something to someone outside of me or there wouldn't be a story to tell.
Yesterday morning I received a phone call from my youngest daughter. She is a very grounded soloist so when she calls crying and asks me to come pick her up, I am going to drop everything. She didn't answer me when I asked where her car was, just asked me to come. Off I go. My experience with her over the following 10 hours was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
Merriam-Webster dictionary states the definition of surreal as "marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream". Irrational reality. That is exactly the effect on my brain yesterday.
Through a great deal of detective work we found out my daughter left her job at a local beer garden at 8:39 p.m. and confirmed that she had been drinking water all day and at the end of her shift had ordered two drinks. At 8:38 p.m. her boyfriend had received the standard message that she was about to leave work and head home. Then complete and utter radio silence. 10:08 p.m. boyfriend receives a call from her, hysterical and incoherent, from a random cell phone. Boyfriend finds her wandering in the area from the call around 10:30 p.m.. She doesn't remember leaving work. Where she was found was approximately the midway point between her home and her job. She hasn't any idea how she got there, why she was there, where her car was or her purse or her phone. She later stated that she remembers feeling like she was in a different city, completely confused and scared. She remembered asking a security guard for help. That was the only memory she was able to recount.
After a trip to the emergency room and a police report we ventured out to try and understand her journey. We went to several buildings in the area that she may have gone into for more detective work and somehow a woman entering the building (an employee) recognized her from the night before and started putting some of the pieces together for us. But where is her car? Her keys? Her purse? Her phone? We drove for hours circling the area looking for her red car in the Houston Medical Center area. Could she have parked in a garage? Which one? Doesn't make sense.
There is a bayou that runs through the medical center. In Houston they call them bayous which I have never understood as they are huge concrete aqueducts, or canals, to help move water as Houston is a very flat city and prone to flooding. I digress. While traveling along a road that parallels the bayou I noted a brief citing of a red vehicle parked behind a tall building by itself. After having spotted the same red car on the second or third trip down that road I made the decision to go check it out. Pulling up to the building I even told my daughter that if this was her car I was going to shit my pants. This was the most unlikely place for her car to be (see attached picture).
Surrealism on high alert.
Between my daughter's car and the bayou was a chain link fence. Nothing else. Her car had been in this location for approximately 19 hours and hadn't been noticed by the police, the building security or apparently anyone else that saw that this car was completely out of place. Speechless.
The most wonderful news is that my daughter is alive and unharmed (mostly) and the car only had 3 flat tires. I am so unbelievably grateful for this! More good news is that I could be in the moment with her all day to help her through this terrifying ordeal and be grounded enough to play super sleuth to trace what her possible steps may have been and with God's grace be led to her vehicle. There is no logical explanation of why or how we would have found that car. All I know is that I am grateful beyond words for this.
Where am I at today. Is there a thing called surreal hangover? If there is, that is where I am at. I am in awe of the grace and mercy shown to my daughter. Again, speechless. I am gut sick about all the "could haves". I am overjoyed that I could be present for her in a calm and loving manner without blame or judgement. My cup overflows that she felt safe enough to call me. Did I say how grateful I am that she is alive and well?!? I am also grateful, as strange as that may sound, that I have had a very similar, unnerving, scary and dangerous experience. That was many years ago but the memory was available to me to help her to stay calm and to not beat herself up for something that was clearly out of her control.
One might say that having a drink before driving home is in her control. I agree wholeheartedly. What was not in her control is whatever was put into that drink, for whatever reason it was put into her drink, that was not in her control nor was the effect of that substance. What I know is that there will always be tests put in front of us. We can't change what happened five minutes ago but we can reflect on what has happened and try to make better choices for ourselves moving forward. There is a whole world around us in which people are going through mental twists and turns. All of us, at any given moment in time, are capable of doing something ill begotten. I want to lean in with love and not hide in fear.
If you are struggling to stay in the moment, maybe experiencing some mental twists and turns of your own, I urge you to reach out to someone and talk about it. Your story is important too. It might help someone else.