My watch reminds me to breathe, drink water, tracks my steps, and my fitness ranking. I can choose to compete with family, friends, my own personal best but one thing it can’t do, is measure the impact to my spirit when I’m shadow boxing. It doesn’t register the volume of my internal cries when I lose a friend or the intensity of my prayers for God to heal my body. I’d been shadow boxing for many months when I found myself filled with such anger that I could punch a hole in the universe. 

I knew I had to release and let go of this anger, I couldn’t let it be. So, I found myself at a therapist’s office. She sat and listened as I said, well, a lot of colorful words. I felt stupid after I left the 3rd time, wondering why I should waste good money, when shouting in the privacy of my car was free. I was resentful that a level of perfection beyond human faculty, had been placed on me. I wanted to be delightfully imperfect, a flawed expression of God’s grace.

A few summers ago, I went on the trip of a life time to resurrect me. Kristianne who’d hang her hair, part canine, from the car window or paint her toenails each, a different color. A woman who never backed down from a fight and gladly came out swinging for others. A friend who snort laughed so hard that coffee spouted whale-like from her lips. Mom to two daughters whose lives validated her finest contributions to this world and whose innate gifts far eclipsed her own. Oh sure, her Gold Starbucks card might have more rewards than her eternal ones, but the joy of being simply her – being human – being me.

Because somewhere, in answering God’s call to bring hope to women fighting cancer, this Kristianne disappeared. What remained was an exhausted and utterly depleted woman. Obedience sucked. I would have had a bumper sticker made but surely, there would be objection to that.

Back to the trip of a lifetime, where I spent the most time with my family in 6 years. I found adventure in each day on stone streets and had conversations in Italian learned from a variety of media. Listening for mentions of food and greetings like signposts along the path of grand adventures. Between the Amalfi Coast with my hand immersed in the Blue Grotto to Santorini, Greece barefoot and planking after a yoga class, is where I hung up my boxing gloves. On a volcanic caldera, I became beauty from ashes, and rose like a Phoenix from the flames. 

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