Yesterday, I had a big scary and potentially freeing thought.
Katie and I were in the middle of a windy run through the swishing grasses of Manhattan’s Northeast Park. Geese honked overhead in waves as we skipped over scat and the erosion of a snow-packed winter.
Our footprints were soft in the gooey limestone path. We puffed past the birding trail and suspension bridge; over the sturdy billy-goats-gruff footbridge, and around the dad flying a battered kite in the wind with his kids.
The way was cold, sloppy, and surprisingly hard.
But it was beautiful.
A feast of good company, places where the deer bed down, robins chirping hopeful songs, canine prints – both wild and domestic, and the last bits of a sunny Saturday on the middle plains in February.
As much as the wind burned my legs, I would have hated to miss the moments on the winding sloppy path.
Katie and I had talked a bit, cried a bit, laughed a bit, and exercised our crustiness a bit.
And then we ran – quietly at times. So very good.
About mile two and when crossing the only road into the park, I realized that all of my life I have tried to identify with something…too often – anything. Smart kid, Pat’s little sister, swimmer, skier, reader, leader, Christian, wife, mum, friend, sister, blah blah Director, adventure racer, indy music enthusiast, artist, missionary, owner of a “wild hair”…servant.
While trying to be someone, I have also tried to be invisible.
If I could not be known for something brilliant, I did not want to be noticed for something mediocre or awful.
Now, I know that I am no longer who I was and who I am now is simple. There is no definition of what this life is about or familiar signposts along the way.
I am mum, friend, assistant.
Each evening, I fall asleep in a tiny little apartment over a bungalow that is squished between a bank and a school.
Many mornings, I run with Katie and cackle up the day.
This morning, I stayed in bed and watched the sun play with the prisms sprinkled around my cozy room.
During the day, I try to be useful.
That about sums it.
I read. A lot.
Day dream. Make dinner. Write letters. Play Scrabble. And think about things.
I used to pray a lot.
It was integral to my living as is breathing.
Worship was an imperfect constant in my quirky life.
Now, this life is simple and the prayers are quieted rememberings.
Kids are launching fully into their own stories.
I am no longer on the career tracks I had planned.
There is wonder.
Leaves and trees and snow and the ever-present wind.
New friends, old friends in new friendships, a different light coming through the window.
Sometimes fear revisits.
Today, it was in Target. An innocuous meeting with an old friend had me shaking like that kite over Northeast Park.
It was exhausting.
Aside from the ever-present peanut butter and dark chocolate chips, my life before is no more.
Some things are sweeter still.
Some, I will mourn for a lifetime.
What’s the point?
This life is simple. People matter.
Perhaps one day my child’s pose of prayer will yield more than a profound emptiness of soul.
There are no 7 Steps…
No grand pronouncements or plans.
No knowing of anything for sure,
But family, friends, time that continues, and I desire to be useful rather than to matter.
Thank you for the family.
Thank you for the friends.
Thank you for the geese that fly overhead, the light that plays upon the Hobbity wall, the peanut butter that fills my belly.
And for today when snortling in the library with my best friend over our “homework” assignments made for a very good afternoon.
Still searching for the North Star.