The Rollercoaster’s Lesson

Ups and downs. Tension and release. We rise, we fall…only to rise again.

How do we process the curve balls? When it was time to say “goodbye” to Wyatt Walter on Sunday, he burst into tears. What do I say when the blue eyes of one of my favorite things on this planet fill with tears that are my doing? We won’t see each other for one year, I can’t change it. What do I do to make it better? He wears a cross that says “WYATT LALA,” but I know it’s not enough for him. He needs hugs. (So do I.)


How do we process the high-as-a-kite moments? I received keys today. They unlock a future – a life – a chance for a career, love, happiness. How do I take it in stride when there are a million Nadia Comāneci-butterflies doing somersaults in my stomach? I’m feeling excited about my future in a way that feels almost selfish. So many of my friends and family members are struggling and I am feeling only excited about what comes next. Shall I instead say “cautiously optimistic”?

That’s step two for me. How do I ride the rollercoaster, this time, without feeling broadsided by the downs? In this current apartment and this current life (both of which I will be shedding tomorrow), I have learned how to deal with despair. It was the hardest lesson.

I lost both of my “God”fathers here. I lost Granddaddy. I lost L and fled to Luzern for 2 weeks. I lost him again. I lost him a third time. I lost Hope. I lost it again. I lost it again (7 times, in total). I met the Csendes family. I said goodbye to them. I welcomed them. I said goodbye to them again. Ups and downs. Over and over again.

I learned a hard, but valuable, lesson – my Faith is stronger than my Hope. Faith is in the air. If I am breathing? (and, according to the paramedics, I wasn’t at one point in this apartment)…Faith is refilling me with what I need to take another breath, another step, another journey.

There will be a day when the blue-eyed, 8-year-old is visiting his Aunt LaLa (technically, he calls me “Wala” because it combines both of our names) in Switzerland. There will be a day when what seems “full of wonder” is a bit clouded by the harsh and not-so-picturesque reality of law school. I’ll find a way to take the Rollercoaster’s exciting journey the way this guy does…That’sLifebythePro

“I Don’t Want To”

At least 20 times a day, I am faced with the internal answer, “I don’t want to.” I usually ignore it. Why?

I’m an adult.

“I don’t want to” is a selfish answer. It is rarely, I’ve found, the right answer. Here’s my example.

Yesterday, I had the entire day planned from sun up to sun down. The crucial hour was the one between physical therapy and home. I needed to catch my train to get home to bake the birthday cake. I am in Switzerland. My train comes on time, two times an hour. Punkt.

After PT, I got on the tram. I put on my headphones and started my NYC streets focus. I would have 7 minutes to get my little orange train. This young guy kept making eye contact with me and it looked like he was trying to talk. “I don’t want to” was in my head and I kept listening to Van Morrison’s Plan B album.

But, the guy came over to me. I removed the earbud and trying to find out what he was saying even though I didn’t want to.

He was sick. Really sick. In fact, he almost passed out on me.

He was only trying to tell me that he needed some water.

I helped him off the tram and into a seat, fetched some water and crackers, and sat with him. He’d just had a long day, not enough water, and got dehydrated. It was simple.

I thought about it a lot this morning. My initial “I don’t want to” almost hindered me from doing exactly what I want to do with my life…help people in need of help. This is the rather quiet way I “Catholic Buddhist” in the world. I save the bible beating and “mean Messiah”-ing to others. I sort of do my own thing.

This morning, I also remembered Moni. She was just about to finish a triathlon last year when a man fell in front of her. Instead of listening to an “I don’t want to” because of exhaustion, self-determination, desire for a good time, etc., she stopped. When she realized he was very ill, she stayed with him. He died. Imagine if she had listened to all the reasons she “didn’t want to?” God bless my Moni. She’s one of my heroes.

I didn’t get the cake done because I didn’t make my train.

I made brownies instead. Is Martha Stewart going to give them a prize?…uh, no. But, we all ate them (not me, don’t like sweets) and had a great laugh. At a table full of good friends, everyone ate one of these “charming” brownies…even the people that probably “didn’t want to.” 😉

The "I Didn't Want To" brownies