Crunchy Leaves and Hard Tears

Like a kid in a candy store I was when I walked down that old, familiar driveway and saw all the crisp looking leaves resting beneath a tree that looked like the Lord had splatter painted it with orange, red, and yellow.  They will surely think I’m crazy when they come home and find me in their yard, but this tree was like a gift from the Lord and I was determined to sit beneath it and just get still.
 
The air was about as crisp as each leaf I stepped on to get to that well-aged trunk with the perfect place to lean in close and just be.  Decked out in denim capri pants, flip flops, and an Atlantic Beach hoodie (I was an Eastern NC girl in a Western NC world) I was ready to nestle myself in a pile God’s confetti and hang out there with my Bible and journal until all seemed right in the world again.  Because on that day, nothing seemed right.
 
I got comfortable and just sat there, feeling almost numb to the world. I should have been cold, but I couldn’t feel a thing.  Until the tears started to roll.  It felt like my world had come to an end.  In a small town, on a small campus, where most everyone was famous for something, I felt very small.  Very unknown.  I began to cry harder and could taste the bitterness of make-up hit the corners of my mouth.  My heart, what was left of it, literally ached.  In fact, my entire body was feeling it.  I was feeling pretty stupid for falling so hard that fast.  Then I was mad at myself for letting myself feel stupid.  Then mad at myself for being mad at myself.  
 
Out of the corner of smudged glasses, I saw their light blue Buick pull down the hill of their driveway.  She walked up to me slowly, seeing that I was clearly a wreck.  She convinced me to move inside for hot chocolate and a fleece blanket, my toes were blue!  I told her the whole story, getting worked up all over again.  Eventually I found my way back out the door, incredibly thankful that neither one of them thought I was crazy.
 
All on top of having a pretty broken heart.  I made a promise to myself that afternoon that I would never find myself in a position where there was potential to feel like this again.  I would guard it and guard it well.  And I have.  Almost too well, sometimes.
 
Until now…
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