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September 10, 2022

On Thunderstorms, the Death of a Queen, & Fasting: Reflections on a Week Not Gone to Plan

I almost didn’t write this week.

A jumble of chaotic busyness and 24-hour fasting that I actually believe made my brain stop functioning is the cause. Unexpected changes in plans played their part too.

The moon is getting full, so I tend to point my finger there when life feels out of control. A pointed finger at the moon is less dramatic than a shaking fist at the sky, right?

It hasn’t been that tough of a week, but tough nonetheless.

The goings-on of this week robbed my creativity. I wanted to write about something positive. The gem in the mess of it all.

Then I learned that the Queen had died.

My roommate divulged this to me earlier in the afternoon. He and I hadn’t chatted too much this day. However, as I was chopping vegetables for my lunch, he walked into the kitchen and sat at the table. Holding his phone in front of his face, staring at the screen, he announced to me that Queen Elizabeth II had died that morning.

But, as I was only minutes into the post-fasting section of my day where I could finally eat, I wasn’t too receptive to this news. I was hastily trying to open a bag of pasta so I could cook a hearty lunch, and I failed to register his announcement fully.

So, timed as it was, the conversation about the Queen’s death evaporated then and there.

Standing at the kitchen counter, a bowl of pasta in my hand, I ate. I was in my head. I was angry about a few things in life.

Fasting is insane, I’ve decided.

It’s disorienting, and I’m not quite confident in my reasons for trying. During the fast, I had thoughts in my head but couldn’t think clearly. I’m not sure I feel any of the physical benefits just yet, but throughout the 24-hour cycle, I moved from feeling emotionally anxious, experiencing throbbing headaches, and then shifted to feeling light and optimistic in my general outlook.

But then, in rapid roller-coaster succession, I felt delirious, angry, and then sad.

Frustrated with my chronic hip pain, and despondent for reasons I couldn’t quite validate, I finished lunch and I lay down on the couch for one pensive moment.

In that one moment, I received a message that a riverside memorial was about to begin in honor of a friend our community had lost to a tragic drowning 2 years ago.

I pulled myself off the couch, found my truck keys, left my condo, and drove to the river.

This friend’s death has sparked a legacy of life-saving – literally life-saving – endeavors here in Nicaragua ever since. Endeavors such as opening pharmacies and establishing local first aid centers that house highly-qualified doctors; achieving International Red Cross training for our Beach Patrol staff; and securing lifeguard stations up and down our beach that have saved hundreds of lives this year alone. Hundreds.

There is both celebration and sadness in this.

Sadness is often accompanied by either camaraderie in the collective glum or jovial banter.

I’m okay with the banter.

I’m okay with both the glum and the banter, really, but the welcome attempt by close friends to rescue feelings of happiness from where they have momentarily sunk with light-hearted but genuine chatter served its purpose. After the memorial, I hung around for an evening of uplifting conversations and light celebrations.

Life can be confusing, disappointing, and downright sad sometimes.

But amidst this, are those who can hug you and be sad with you. Those who will play your favorite song and joke with you about something ridiculous that brings the laughter back into your cheeks.

I appreciated that light chatter and laughs that followed the memorial; a memorial that followed a stressful disjointed week; a week punctuated with hip pain and fasting.

Two nights ago, it stormed here in Nicaragua harder than I’ve ever experienced outside of a hurricane. We had hours of thunder and lightning and hard rain. Hours.

Friends’ houses were struck by lightning that left eight-foot-long burn marks. Flooding threatened homes. Dogs freaked out. When I awoke, roads had become rivers, a puddle had risen inside the backseat of my truck and a lagoon outside my yoga palapa meant we splashed our way to our mats.

Post-storm, post-fast, post-yoga, post-work, and post-memorial, I headed to bed later than I meant to.

Then I remembered that the Queen had died. With my head lying on my pillow, I opened my phone and, in a mix of sadness, intrigue, and nostalgia for my UK life, lost myself in scrolling through BBC posts and photos of Her Majesty.

These are all the reasons why I almost didn’t write this week.

Because it’s been a week of false starts. Turnarounds. Busyness. Connection. Confusion. And losses we can’t truly measure.

Because I’m not sure if I’m writing about painful fasting, the death of a queen, chaotic weeks, or the good friends that carry us through it.

But, one thing I am sure of, (even if I forget sometimes), is that chaos, confusion, and thunderstorms – none of these last forever.

In fact, in the throes of anything we find uncertain or painful, it would help to remember one thing: that life is about to get better.

Life does have a way of resetting itself if we pay attention to the cues and allow them to move us through the weeks where we’ve come undone, and into the weeks that fall in line for us in peaceful, calmer, and sunnier ways.

This week was hard to cling to, and much of it felt tipped upside down. But as the weekend arrives, I’m going to rest. Eat. Recalibrate. And start again. Perhaps this next week will be another random week of occurrences we didn’t plan for and feel unequipped to handle.

Or perhaps it will be a week popping with surprises that are far more pleasant; perhaps it will be a week where we soar.

~ Christy

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