Yesterday concluded week no. 2 here in Colorado. This week, if nothing else was learned, I learned what its like to be tired- like exhausted- and just roll with it. I sometimes brag how, during the school year, I’ve been able to train my body to run off of -5 hours of sleep. Ella logic here: If I create a consistent sleeping pattern, my body will get used to it. Now either I am- after 2 weeks- still not used to 6 hours of sleep, or I am just getting old (I am thinking its more option no. 2). Monday night I found myself driving in the Springs through a severe lighting storm, watching flash flood warnings appear every few minutes on my phone, covering up google maps. I really don’t have a fear of lighting, driving through rain, etc. but this was different. Good old Syd was driving through roads with puddles of water so deep that I felt my wheels sliding around. When lighting flashed, the whole sky turned a deep purple. Not gonna lie- I was little nervous.
Where in the world was I going at 9pm on a Monday night you might ask? Well, I was actually meeting a friend to go on a night hike. As you can imagine, we called that off and ended up in Mcdonalds, sitting at a little table, both of us dripping wet, talking. My friend Elijah and I hadn’t seen each other since I was a junior in high school. He had moved out here, experienced everything Colorado had to offer and is now in the process of building his life. There is something weird about talking to someone in person that you haven’t seen in years. You see them, they look different (and you realize that you probably look a lot different too), you start talking and realize their mannerisms have changed slightly, their voice has changed a little, and they’ve matured. Within the first few minutes of conversation I started to think about the Ella that Elijah would have remembered. Headstrong, yet free-spirited 16-year-old Ella. She crimped her hair, wore peace sign t-shirts, painted on huge canveses all day long, and listened to weird music (that hasn’t really changed much…). I’m glad I was able to give him a new picture of who I am.
Two days later I found myself sitting on the back patio of a beautiful home, just south of the Springs, watching a 2 year old help his dad water their grape bushes. My youth pastor in middle school and his wife had moved when I was about 14- come to find out, they moved to Colorado Springs. Connecting and spending time with them was so refreshing. I’m sure their memory of middle-school Ella was even crazier than Elijah’s last memories of me, but they treated me like a peer and we had some great conversation.
One thing that has been nagging at me for a few days now spurred from a conversation I had with my boyfriend a few nights ago. I was sitting on the back steps of my host families home, watching the sun set behind Pikes Peak, enjoying the slowly dropping temperate. He said something along the lines of “Ella, you know the part in the Bible where Jesus asks his disciples ‘who do the people say I am’” I said yes, and proceeded to finish his thought with “and then Jesus said ‘who do you say I am’”. Mark gave some sort of “ummhumm” of agreement- acknowledging that we were on the same page. “Well, I have been thinking about that and tonight I asked my friends that question- like who do others say I am and who do you say I am.” I laughed a little, imaging extroverted Mark’s friends telling Mark how they thought of him. This is the boy who has compared himself to Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother and used to do street magic. A lot of silly worlds flooded my mind. Then he said “So I’m going to ask you: who do others say I am and who do you say I am?”
Luckily Mark knows that I am an INTJ and need time to gather my thoughts. He didn’t ask for a response right away and said I couple have a few days to think about it… Wednesday night I posted on the group chat with the interns that I would be going hiking after work the next day- if anyone wanted to join me. Group chats with a group of 20-somethings can be pretty interesting. In our age of gifs and memes, theres no one to say we can’t have full conversations with gifs- even at midnight. I’m also usually not the person to organize stuff, but I figured part of my whole commitment to “living the moment” should be planning stuff like this. So Thursday evening, after work, some of the other interns and I drove less than 5 miles to a place called “Pulpit Rock Park”. Pulpit Rock is this cool rock formation that can be seen from the highway and is open to the public to hike up. (Pictures will be posted below because it’s not worth trying to describe.)
After getting lost on the hike up, and resorting to basically straight rock climbing to find the trail, my little group that I was with was sitting, rather precariously, on top of massive boulders, watching the sun set. A cute couple sat on the edge of the boulder, about 30 feet from us noisy interns, enjoying the view together. Someone suggested that we go and awkwardly join them to which one intern responded “We might scare them and one might fall off.” At the time it was funny.
At one point, I sat by myself on the boulder, enjoying some introverted time and was brought back to the question “who do they say I am?” It reminded me of something my mom used to talk about when I was little- “How do you want people to remember you when you die?” It sounds kind of morbid, but it really does challenge you to live differently and interact more positively with others. So who do these people- people that I haven’t known more than two weeks, but feel like I’ve known for years- who do they say I am? A few words obvious words came to mind like- artistic, adventurous, musical, pineapple lover. Most of them by now know how frugal I am- I’ve talked about my 10$ per week grocery budget and fairly strict rule to only shop at thrift stores. They also know how I have a strong desire to live a healthy lifestyle- through whole food eating and exercise. These things are good, but I hope that people, when asked “who do you say I am?” would be able to talk about me in a deeper way. I would hope that my artsy and musical-ness is a reflection of God who is the ultimate creator. I would hope that my adventurous spirit makes me easy to connect with and that my lifestyle inspires others to live to their fullest.
Yesterday I spent the morning and most of the afternoon hiking to and from a resoviour over looking Pikes Peak in Greenwich Falls with most of the interns. You really learn a lot about people when you spend hours hiking switchback trails in 80+ heat, rationing water, and applying sunblock every half hour. Conversations about college roommates, cleaning bathrooms, and favorite mexican fast food chains (Chipotle all the way…) happen. I realized, indirectly, through these serious, lighthearted, and goofy conversations, that these people (at least some of them) would say something deeper about me. In one specific conversation regarding the future someone said to me “Ella, I love how open you are to God’s will in your life. You recognize that he’s given you a gift and you’re willing to walk through doors when he opens them for you”. I was #blessed.
So, I guess as I go into week no. 3, I can walk around a touch more confidently- knowing that people would say something deeper when asked the question “who do you say I am” than state the fact that I am obsessed with pineapple.
A quote I heard once goes something like “If the world was blind, how many people would you impress?”… try thinking about that this week.