choices free choice

Sweet Happy Place

6:00:00 AMEvelyn Hildebrand

take me to the ocean.. (apparently I love this type of picture: back facing, long hair blowing in the wind, oceanic view in the background)Last week, my brother and I spent nine hours in the car--four and a half hours up and four and a half hours back--from Steubenville, Ohio to The Falls, Ontario. I had never seen the falls.  Hundreds of gallons of water flowed so smoothly over the edge and then disappeared in clouds of mist so thick that we couldn't see the bottom.

Humidity makes my hair a curly, frizzy mess. After fifteen minutes, I had quite the head of curly hair standing on the edge of the falls with my face in the wind and mist. That's a happy place - wind, rain, freedom. 

Driving into Canada had been hard work. The security agent did not like us.  He sent our car through extra screening after telling us that driving up to Canada for a couple hours on a day off of school "makes literally no sense."   Getting out of Canada was significantly easier.  The American guard asked four questions, then waved us right through.

Some of the most powerful people in the world are the people no one takes seriously. Security guards. College kids on a road trip.  

You want power? Smile at the person in front of you. Stand up straight and look them in the eyes.  Do the hard thing well.  Standing in the cold on the curb of the Canadian border, biting back sarcastic responses and choosing to be polite instead of pissed at the police poking through my purse.  A small, hard  thing.

"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response likes our growth and our freedom." (1) 

Spirit Falls, Oregon... ❤ Spirit falls is a gorgeous 40 feet channeled waterfall, flowing over moss covered rock on Alex Creek near Cottage Grove, Oregon. Originally named Andrea Falls, was discovered in 1978...  Google+Talk about power. In that three second space, the world is your kingdom, your footstool, your own. I don't often take time to stand in that freedom, to hold on to that gap between stimulus and response. The gap feels strangely like standing at the top of Niagara falls. All those gallons of water flow past my feet, unstoppably streaming towards the edge, flooding past so fast that there is not time to stop and breathe.

It is not that I could stop the water - that's not what the gap is for.

The water is going to keep rushing past, but those three seconds give me my chance to choose to swim with the current, choose to dive over the edge in a Pocahontas-esque adrenaline junkie move. 

This is not a poetic way of expressing the colloquial go-with-the-flow. There are a number of verbs to describe different methods for 'going with the flow.' Kicking, screaming, cursing, struggling, drowning, dancing, diving, laughing, loving.

Every situation is not quite Niagara falls. But for the times when life is truly out of your control, hang on to those three seconds.  The adrenaline of making the hard choice really does feel like Niagara falls: wind and mist and freedom.  A happy place.


Evelyn Hildebrand

I love people - it fascinates me that it's impossible to really completely know another person.  There's always uncharted territory.  I love the ocean - the power that pulls you into a rising wave, the clean, clear curve, the pounding crash when the bubbly crest of a wave hits you feet as you dive straight through.  I love paint - on canvas.  On mason jars. On newspaper.  On my hands.   

(1) Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning.


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