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Archive for the tag “chris nesseth”

A Lesson Learned From Sinking Metal

I was driving my car to the airport. I needed to reach my terminal a bit early as parking at DFW can be a total nightmare. In my rush I ended up getting off at the wrong exit. I needed terminal B and I was headed towards rental cars. I stepped on the gas; I needed to find a way to turn around. I sped through the single lane track and passed signs for AVIS, Enterprise and others.  I could find no way out.

I snaked passed Budget Rental, the last in the row. There was a police officer directing traffic in and out of the parking garage. As I passed he yelled at me as I had gone through a stop sign. I didn’t care too much as he was on foot. He couldn’t catch me and I didn’t kill anyone, no harm no foul.

My windows were down and I could hear him yelling dis-pleasures at me. That I needed to stop and he was going to get into his car to try and catch me. I did not have time for this. I ignored him, certain that there was no chance he would ever see me again. I sped up to ensure that this would be true.

Up ahead there was a decision to be made. Two paths: the road went straight or veered off to the right. There was not a sign for me to read so I could tell which was the right decision. I did not slow down. At the last second I decided to go right, no straight. I went straight and the road I was on turned out to be no road at all.

The road started to narrow and quick. On my left was an embankment. On my right was a large drop off that fell to a river. Just as fast as I could tell my brain to tell my foot to hit the brakes I was jolted. My tire had risen up on the left curb. The embankment quickly grew and my car was raised. It was raised higher and higher until I was speeding along at a forty five degree angle. The remaining pavement left for my right tire disappeared from underneath it. My vehicle and I spun out into the air a hundred feet above the water.

The Chevy landed wheels down and splashed heavily into the river, the great gob of metal sinking fast. My only thought was hoping that when I hit the bottom, it wouldn’t hurt. I braced for impact. No impact came. Whatever body of water I landed in was clear as spring water and deep as a canyon. I unbuckled. I checked myself, I was completely unharmed. I climbed out my window and started to swim. I looked up to see the sun glistening off the water. Its reflection told me I could make it to the top.

I don’t know if I ever made it out. The brightness of the sun woke me up and I was lying dry in my Dallas apartment.  That terrifying event had been nothing more than a dream, a quick, screeching dream from an afternoon nap.

I am not sure what to take from it. What was my mind trying to tell me? Is my sub conscious just trying to wake me up, to wake me up and urge me to do something productive? Could my brain just have been entertaining itself with a quick action movie? Was it something deeper yet?

Was I trying to tell myself to slow down before I make decisions? To make sure I know what I am doing and where I am going. Was I warning myself that not doing so could result in losing control and landing in some icy unknown? I imagine so.

I would just like to thank my neurons for sending me a message. I appreciate the lecture brain. Yours are much more entertaining and vivid than the ones I get from my parents. They didn’t do a bad job. It’s just your ability to make it feel so real is very effective.

A wieght lifted, A secret revealed: A Nesseth family meeting

I was playing outside with my friends one afternoon after school when I was rudely interrupted by a mandatory family meeting. I was irritated. I knew the rules. You did your homework, your chores and then you were permitted to play outside until dinner. Yes, we were around the dinner table, yet there was no food. I sat, peeved and impatient waiting for whatever was so important that could justify interrupting my precious play time.

My Mom had been pacing around, looking restless and bothered. My dad sat close looking calm and stoic as usual, yet there was an opposite feeling, visible and bubbling on his inside.  My brother and sister sitting with my same confused half nervous look of anticipation.

My Mom had anointed herself the meeting’s speaker. After a couple of awkward rounds of the typical after school mom to children questions, we finally arrived at the meeting’s purpose.  My mom with a large swallow told us the news as bravely as any person could. She looked me right in the eye, now I knew I was the focus, I could only assume I was in trouble. I was wrong. She told me that the doctor called while I was at school, the biopsy results had come back and the tumor was malignant.

My eleven year old mind did not understand the word “malignant”. I, of course, asked curiously for a clarification. My poor mom had been working up the courage all day to tell me this news, once had been enough. This time the tears could not be held back anymore, she choked out, “Chris you have cancer”.

I took this in for a moment. At eleven you don’t understand the severity of the word cancer. She might as well have had said malignant again or you have antidisestablishmentarianism. I just knew she had said the word doctor and I could see her tears. I assumed that whatever cancer was, I had it and it wasn’t good. I looked up at my brave mother. Still trying her absolute hardest to hold it all in, she was close to overflowing, the emotions ready to boil over.

I asked her if they could fix it. I asked her in a very matter of fact way, very calmly and genuinely curious. She told me, well yes. I looked at her baffled. Then what was the big deal? If they could fix it, then why was I inside when I could be outside playing?

I don’t think she could handle how well I took it. I clearly didn’t understand. I clearly didn’t see the severity. I clearly didn’t hear that sometimes death sentence of a word. I could see this, that she was not taking it so well. That it made it worse that I didn’t think anything of it, other than I was annoyed about more doctor visits. Somehow my eleven year old mind knew to tell my mother what I had learned in school that day. I said, “Mom, you know what Mrs. Junion told us in class today? She told us that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.”

The tears came harder. Though this time beneath her eyes beaten by a phone call and the anticipation and the burden of having to share this news with all of us and worst of all with me, there was a smile. There was laughter. I believe in that moment, she knew I was right. That we aren’t given anything we can’t handle and there was a few seconds of relief. I could see that I had achieved my goal of easing my mom’s clear discomfort. Which was a half selfish ploy; I saw my moment and promptly asked if I could go back outside to play. She smiled and nodded with the only energy she had left.

Obviously I survived as I am writing these words thirteen years later and after that moment, it was never as hard as it was then. We knew. My mother knew, my father knew, my sister and my brother knew (brave themselves for the attention I took from them) and I knew that there really is nothing we are given that we can’t handle. If you see my family today there isn’t one of us who doesn’t know this, who doesn’t understand this. Anyone who knows any one person in my family knows that each and every one of us is strong and successful. It has taken many moments around a dinner table in Iowa that have made us who we are today.

Shadow Chasing

At first a dream came to me, unknown, like a shadow. It was nothing but a gray blob circling my every move right in tune with my watch and the falling sun. It would come twice a day and I would keep an eye on it as it passed just in front of my nose and lose interest as it circled out of sight. I could see it, unsure of its origin.

Then one day I asked myself, where is this light coming from?

What is casting this shadow, this glimpse of something more? What is this burning sensation in my chest? (The feeling can be disruptive and irritating, like heartburn) What is causing these thoughts that are taking me away from my every day hectic schedule of a life already created? What is to be made of this dark and twisty thing that keeps my brain turning, my heart pumping and my feet moving?

Is it a greater need to feel destined and to fulfill such fates with my own power? Is it the need to wipe away that shadow and stand basking in its source? (The only shadow my own, for others to follow.)

The bigger question is do I dare to find out? I am guilty (like most of us) of making that fatalistic choice, by turning out the lights and choosing to walk at night. To have the only dreams I have, be the ones I wake up from.  But let’s be honest, in the real world of big time responsibilities and a list of tasks that never gets shorter, who actually has time for all this shadow chasing?

I have a shadow I am chasing of my own. I have a dream that grows more clearly each day. I have no choice but to do everything it takes to follow it. To dare to make the time, to take the time!  I have to do whatever it takes. I need to get the time even when it seems like there isn’t any left to have.

I have been making choices to reach this goal. I recently canceled my cable. I canceled my Netflix. I sold my Playstation. I sold my television. I have eliminated all of the obvious external distractions. The next to go are those pesky ones inside my head and Words with Friends.

All I have left to do is chase. I have to ask myself what I want and get it. There will be obstacles, that is a given. I will overcome them. I will prevail. I am certain in the end there is nothing more important than the chase itself. That giving yourself completely to the chase is a requirement of a having a life fulfilled, to reach that ever elusive happiness.

I choose to give myself up completely to the chase. And with time I’ve created, I will surely forge ahead. I will write one day about how I stared deep into the eyes of my shadow and met the challenge. I will tell you all about how I went down this path, as unglamorous as it might be, and won. I want to share with all of you of the time I took my soul and shook it from its comfort and took it home.

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