"Hold still!" I said to my son as I took a picture of him, coming down the front steps this morning. I do it every year on the first day of school. I capture his size, his hairstyle, his outfit, forever. I have pictures of all three kids on the first and last days of school. If only I scrapbooked.
This morning as I put my son on the bus yet again, I remembered the day I sent him off to kindergarten. The bus pulled away and I cried but I smiled too. I felt alone but I also felt free.
I stayed on the corner, squinting at the horizon. Something was out there, way out there. I put my hand over my eyebrows to shield my sight from the glare. A breeze nudged my hair. Its coolness made me shiver. In my gut, in my spirit, I knew everything was changing.
I walked back to the house, considering my life. The last year and the one before that had been like a black and white photograph. No, that’s not right. There was always color, but the color was washed out--pastel and weak with undertones of grey. Personally, I don’t care for pastels. I think they’re wimpy.
When I got to the house I sat on the porch and thought about how for the past four years or so, I wanted more. And then recently, I wanted much more. For the longest time I'd felt like a sleepy caterpillar in a dry and raspy, mocha latte-colored cocoon. I longed to be a butterfly, an aqua and magenta butterfly, starting to nudge and poke and kickbox my way out of the dustiness. I wanted freshness, greenness, sunshine and new life to fill me and my veins to overflowing.
I put my head in my hands and my elbows on my knees. I remembered how it felt like my life was a bellcurve. I was climbing the left side, inch-worming towards the top. It seemed to take the longest time until my son got on the bus that first day. Once he started school, the plummet began.
I started sliding down the other side, slow at first but then I gathered speed. I gathered other stuff too--power, joy and assurance. Assurance that this is the life I was created to live.
God whispered things to my spirit. “You’re getting warmer. . . stay on this path . . . don’t go through that door . . . .” He sent me people and even songs that echoed his will for me. “Go for it! Fulfill your destiny, the one I wrote for you centuries, millennia ago.”
Finally, I had ears to hear. Finally, I believed what God had told me all along. “Your life will count, beloved. Your life will count for the kingdom.”
There would be no more, “most men lead lives of quiet desperation” for me. Henry David Thoreau can keep his quiet desperation! What a snore! I want more than a grey rag of a life!
I put my hands over my heart. It felt like God was in there--breathing into a bubble or a balloon inside of me. What would happen if he let go? I imagined it would go, “WHOOOOSHHHH!” It would twist and shout, somersault and dance all over the world in glorious, ecstatic, technicolor bliss.