Sometimes in the most unlikely of places, you will find a tiny treasure that represents a world of potential. Look carefully! Pay attention! It is not always in plain sight. But there right under your nose you will find something that holds promise of sweetness and goodness. Something that promises that this sweetness, this goodness, it is yours for the taking.
Maybe you have been hunting for a long long time. Maybe you just stumbled upon it. Maybe the bright colors caught your eye and made you stop and look again.
You hold it in your hand, turn it over, can’t believe your luck. Even before you open it, even before you you know that its biggest promise is that the cold dark days have passed–at least for now. The sun is shining again and there is work to be done!
Happy (belated) Easter.
Seven years ago this weekend, Juan and I stayed up all night and he told me he was leaving. It took him another year to leave and several more for the divorce to become final. Its taken 3 years for other details to be laid to rest, property to transfer, documents to be signed. Years later we are still navigating and negotiating–consulting about rides to karate and child care back ups and sick days. Nothing is ever gained or lost–it is just transformed and so too it is with the kind of commitments one makes to our children. But something feels big about crossing over the threshhold of seven.
Even as I write I am crossing a big milestone. I am putting stamps on the final document I need to send in–at least what I think is the final document to lay to rest another detail, the final big one.
One last big step away from an us that ceased to exist that night 7 years ago and one more step deeper into the magical and marvelous life that I am building–step by step, breath by breath, glorious morning by morning.
Seven years is a very long time. When things take that long to fully dissolve it can create a kind of inertia. The documents that needed to be mailed sat on my desk all week. In a timeline that has unfolded this slowly, a week is but a blink of an eye.
Sometimes I can get so frustrated with myself and the slow pace with which my life has seemed to unfold lately. Even the simplest of tasks seem to take longer some days. And yet, the landscape of my life has not changed by earthquakes but has instead been shaped by a slow steady rain, years and years of patient life giving rain that has worn new paths, shaped stones, grown trees and moss. Looking out at my garden I am in awe of the beauty that has resulted. Yes it is transformed, quietly, slowly. When I look at the results, who am I to curse the pace?
Some things take longer. Lifetimes or centuries. Millennia even. In the scheme of things, what is seven years? Seven years to finally put to rest something I thought would last a lifetime doesn’t seem that long, even as it feels like an eternity.
And yet there is something about the passing of seven years that makes me stand and take notice. Springing out of bed, as though an alarm has sounded. Enough already. Lets get moving.
Seven feels like a complete number, magical and round. Time now to dust off my hands and whatever inertia is left and move up and out and all around. Shake the earth and move the boulders. Its time. Its time.
I just made the mistake of reading a long back and forth on someone’s facebook page–the kind of rants inspired by wars and Wisconsin. I never should read those diatribes. They never lead to anything good. Case in point: I am having a hard time breathing.
I am having a hard time these days with lines drawn so firmly in the sand. With open hands turned into tight closed fists. Mine. Yours. Fights and struggles over who deserves what. Name calling. Power plays. People not wanting to share.
The illusion that seems so real to so many, the illusion that we are separate seems to be all I see and hear and feel these days. It hurts my heart. The constant infusion of fear and hatred (You are going to take what is mine! you have more than me! You don’t deserve the (fill in the blank)! ) is suffocating. Crushing.
Truth is we are one. Connected and intertwined whether we like it or not. Your poverty hurts me. You joy creates space and openness in my life. Its that simple. When your blood spills it pollutes my water. We are in it together though we like to pretend that its a zero sum game.
I don’t know how to stand in such a mindset anymore–that place where someone has to lose so that someone can win. One where we only get richer by making sure that someone doesn’t get what we have. One where we are constantly vigilant for the thief who will rob us blind, or the neighbor who will take too much if we are not careful.
I am not naive. I know that thieves and liars exist. I know that those who worry that no one will ever feed them in the lean times will horde now leaving still more to starve. I also know that those who share everything they have risk going hungry by giving. Recognition that we are so interconnected and acting upon this recognition requires the greatest act of faith.
And yet I am beginning to see that there is no other way forward.
Tuesday nights are rink nights. After hockey practice I untie Max’s skates and while he is undressing get in line at the grill at the rink to order our dinner. Its always the same–a piece of pizza and a red gatorade for him, chicken and fries and a small coke for me. And his friend D. is always right behind me with a $20 dollar bill and his order: two hot dogs, a coke and a venti skim cappuccino for his dad. He leaves a nice tip for the grill guys. I like that about this kid. I always let him cut me in line because I like that so much.
One by one the 9 and 10 year old boys piling in to the booth next time mine where I sit with my computer. Dads are allowed to hover nearby but this mom needs to stay at a bit of a distance at least one booth away. This is male territory. They laugh and tell stories and quote movies and run around turning the grill into a basketball arena. No one seems to care as these cubs tumble about. Everyone seems to acknowledge that these young men are the princes here. And when their dinner is finished they each dig for pocket change and head for the rink’s arcade.
It brings such heady joy, this ritual of ours. The air is thick with silly boy joy. I can’t help but smile, reveling in the simple sweetness even as I hang back–a witness. I bring my camera because I want to capture its sweetness, so that I can remember that this is our life. Our life is a string of moments like these–moments of connection and friendship and learning and laughter.
Our life is also tears in the locker room and homework not yet done. Its it chores and messy cars and spilled milk and a frantic desperate gymnastics to arrive at school and work on time. It is forgotten lunches and major disappointments and sick days when I have to do the conference call anyway and he thinks that means that I don’t want him with me at work. But it is a steady stream of nights like this when love is a piece of pizza and a handful of quarters and your buddies all around.
Hockey is now over. I started to write this post sometime in January I think when it felt as though that rhythm of our life would never end, when I was awakening to the joy that that slog to the rink and the late nights and early mornings offered. But it has ended. All things shift and so we are spending our Tuesdays doing homework and setting up tents and getting the laundry done. We spend our weekends cleaning up the house and the yard, getting ready for baseball and swimming, plotting sleepovers and catching up with our our life locally.
I wanted to hold onto the sweetness I discovered this winter so dearly. I spent many tortured minutes second guessing my decision not to put Max in spring league this year. I knew our schedule would not abide it but I wanted so badly to not let it go.
And that is precisely why I held firm. My resistance to letting the season shift and change is why I decided we wouldn’t. I needed to practice letting things evolve naturally. I knew that holding on so tightly would not serve. Pushing ourselves to keep it going–just to keep it going felt wrong and counter to the easy way that hockey unfolded for us this year. As hard as it was to let go of something beautiful I know I needed to just to give space for more sweetness to be born. I want to teach Max how goodness comes into our life and how we can’t grasp at it like sand but instead need to let it go, transform, develop–that goodness is abundant and will flow differently, never stopping but always changing, always changing.
Not going to the rink means I need to call those families that I loved and miss seeing and show up at their house to eat spicy red kidney beans and brown rice. It means plotting sleep overs and reunions at stick n pucks. It means sending pictures in the mail and yes it means piling into the car and heading to the rink with the boys to watch the dads’ game and to cheer loudly for the men who had become so dear. We can do that now that we have the time. Creating the open space opens doors to new goodness.