Have you ever had a memory so vivid that each time you’re reminded of it, it’s like you’re immediately transported back to that exact moment? Every time I take a shower and wash my face, it’s like déjà vu. It’s not squeezing out a dollop of face wash onto my fingers, or rubbing it into my face, but when I cup my hands to let them fill up with water, something happens. And I don’t realize it until the water hits my face and washes away the dirt and grime of the day, that the scent of the apricot scrub travels to that one compartment of my brain, very carefully picks out a box, opens it up and my mind explodes with one scene that, apparently, I’ll never forget. Instantly, I’m in our condo in Costa Rica. I can see the tiled wall and floor, the steamed up glass wall that stops short of fully enclosing the shower, and a towel hanging over it, the tiny open window to my right with the rain drizzling outside, and the smell of apricot scrub washing away the day. Nothing earth shattering happened on that day, in the shower, in Costa Rica; it’s just a random memory. But the feeling – it’s burned into my soul.
We didn’t want to be over the baggage weight limit so decided to buy hygiene products there. We couldn’t read anything in Spanish so had no idea what we were buying, except the apricot scrub – because it had a picture of an apricot on the bottle. The thing I find so odd about it all is that I used apricot face scrub for years when I was younger so it’s not a new scent that I associate specifically with that trip, but my mind still takes me to there to that seemingly insignificant moment. That feeling that everything is right in the world. The feeling that I’ve been given undue favor, or grace. The feeling that no matter what is happening, everything is already okay. I can be annoyed beyond belief with Jeffrey when I get in the shower (let’s be real – husbands can push our buttons), and while the memory may not make me any less annoyed with him, it very briefly opens a small window giving me the opportunity to reframe the way I see him, the way I see anything. That split second where I’m experiencing the feeling of Costa Rica triggers me to think of the reasons I was in that shower, on that day in Costa Rica, in the first place. That reason being I was fortunate enough to marry the only man for me.
It reminds me of the extremely insane chance or probability that our paths would ever cross, how everything that has ever happened to either one of us before September 17, 2015 kept propelling us to that day, to that hour, to that minute that we met. And how everything that has happened since that minute that we met, pushed us to become friends, then date, then get married. Despite my own attempts at self-sabotaging, God had other plans. I don’t know that I believe in pre-destination in the sense that God has mapped out every single step of our lives and we have no free will. But, I do believe in fate, and fate is what brought me to Jeffrey regardless of all the things that should have derailed me, all the times I stepped off God’s path thinking that I could do it alone, that I didn’t need His help. God gave me the ability to do that, but also steered me back to where I belong. He doesn’t care how I get there, just that I get there. And I’m so grateful that this “there” includes Jeffrey. And it includes our puppies and our families and our friends and every one of you that follows our journey. And most importantly, it includes God. For me, without Him, none of the rest of it can possibly be sustained.
I open my eyes, see the ceramic tub and slanted ceiling of the shower in our house and the apricot scrub sitting on the ledge and am surprised. Every single time, I am surprised by the intensity of the memory and all the feelings that come with it just to remind me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
My Unsolicited Advice: When things get tough, and even when they’re not, reach back. Reach back as far as you have to go, to that one tiny, unblemished memory, where everything was alright. Find that feeling and use that to carry you through to the other side. Use it to reframe your perception. Remember – no matter where you are on your journey, you are where you are supposed to be. None of us ever completely “arrive.” I still have so many things in my life in which I need to get “there.” But, I’m on my way. And you’re on your way. Every day that we get up and do the next right thing, we are on our way and part of that is knowing that where we are and what we’re going through today is exactly where we’re supposed to be to get us where we’re supposed to be tomorrow.
Territorio De Zaguates, Costa Rica – “The Land of the Mutts and Strays”