Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just a moment

A hug when it was most needed.
A thought from a literature lesson.
A confession of fear from a role model.
A promise of perfect days to come.

You never know when your life will intersect with another's in just the right way to create a life-long memory out of a moment.

A hug.
My Grandpa died, suddenly and violently, when I was two months into middle school. You remember middle school, when rumor mills were a way of life and no friendship was guaranteed to last a week? Grandpa's death hit the local headlines, so when I came to school I got looks that ranged from concerned to morbidly curious. It felt like the hallway got silent and everyone stared, although I know that wasn't true. Then Megan appeared. Megan, who had been my best friend in elementary school, but who was drifting away as she became popular and I, um, didn't. She gave me a hug that simultaneously reassured me that we were still friends and fended off the rumor vultures. A hug when it was most needed.

A thought.
Mr. Haugh had a dry sense of humor and sarcasm that could be used to induce just the right amount of humility (but never humiliation) in the high school students he taught. He'd been around the block and seen it all. When he spoke, I listened. Something he said as we analyzed a short story stood out to me as important, so I jotted it in my notebook. I've long since forgotten the title of the story and many other things from class, but this remains. "The path of the hero, whether in life or in literature, is not to be perfect, but to be perfectly you." A thought from a literature lesson.

A confession.
I loved high school and had no desire to graduate, to leave home, or become more independent. A few weeks before Freshman Orientation, I called my "adopted big brother" who was two years ahead of me in school, ostensibly to get information about college life. He asked how I felt and it came pouring out. My fears and belief that everyone else was excited, my conviction that something was wrong with me. He suggested that, like me, others were scared but not saying anything about it. I was not convinced. "You weren't scared." "Yes, I was. I was terrified." Somehow, that made everything easier to bear. If even Chris had been scared, then surely it was alright. Life would go on and I would survive. A confession from a role model.

A promise.
Dr. Cylke was not my assigned advisor. In fact, he wasn't even in my department. But he was the best advisor I had, in everything from editing papers to social justice to sleep habits (don't pull an all-nighter when the due date is flexible). Conversations during office hours encompassed all aspects of life. On a visit like any other, he asked how my weekend had gone. I detailed the fun I'd had and concluded with, "It was great. Not perfect, but no day is perfect." "You haven't had a perfect day?" "No..." "Just wait. They happen. Some day you will get to the end of it and realize that it has been absolutely perfect." He was right. A promise of perfect days to come.
One of my brothers, enjoying a perfect day.

Many thanks to these four and so many others who have touched my life at just the right time. I pray that I may go and do likewise.


  1. Liana

    You seem to have grasped a truth that, sadly, evades most. Eternity, far from being a long time, is, in fact, grasped in the moment. Sometimes the very environment seems to align itself with our inner world and we experience the perfect day or moment. It is as if we see, if only through a glass darkly, THE truth which is always true. We are caught up in what the church has always called a moment of grace.....it is all grace. The spirit moves where she wills, and she chooses to hover over this moment, this place, and us. Everything in these moments resonates within and we are in synchronicity with all...we are, for however brief a moment, fully awake.
    I am most grateful to have made a small contribution to such a moment in your sojourn through life. I remember the delightful little redheaded girl who could be so serious and pensive and then could break into that smile that lit up the whole room. I am delighted by your reflections (or BLOGS, if one prefers). They speak of balance to me. They are the thoughts of one who recognizes the value of the interior and exterior, the macrocosm and the microcosm, and the extrovert as well as the introvert. they bespeak a desire to live harmoniously in nature rather than to possess or manipulate it. In short, they give testimony to your good spiritual health and reaffirm my former belief that this Liana E. is an exceptionally healthy young person....she will find her way through the thickets of life and her presence, in it, will be a blessing to many.
    Thank you for remembering and, even more, for saying that you did. Please continue to write and humbly express your inner experiences. Self disclosure is a dying art that requires both humility and courage. It will touch lives in very positive and nurturing ways....it is gift.

    His word is a lamp unto thy feet,
    Mr. H

  2. I am touched. I have tried to think of what to write in response, but there doesn't seem to be much else to say. I'm honored to have had you as a teacher and more so to count you now as a friend. Thank you.