Saturday, October 27, 2012

the roads we take


The problem with stories is they can only be told backwards.
Today is so full of today;
it's the dailiness that gets to you.
We don't usually recognize the story until it's past.

Deep Autumn every year I relive Autumn of 2008.
We had two kids, about to turn three and one.
It was an election year.

That summer we had left the church where Jim was a pastor,
moved out of the church parsonage and into an apartment.
Jim went back to engineering, we thought only temporary.
The apartment was small, no yard, in a small town I didn't want to be in, everything was temporary, very much a place of waiting, trying to figure out what in the world we were going to do next.

But in the meantime, in the year and a half we lived there, the apartment was my safe place;
and more than that.
I loved that apartment.
It was a new construction and everything about it felt fresh, just like our life, and it was wonderfully simple, just like life at the time.  I embraced our simplicity, our emptiness, our fresh start.

Jim was re-learning how to be an engineer.
I was shedding skin, stretching courage.
I had been a mom for a while, but the apartment is where I found my confidence and delight in mothering, where I discovered the high calling of creating a home, regardless of the house you live in.
It was where I first began to write for pay, where I learned to lean into liberty and grace, where I found my girlfriends.  It was where I grieved and fought and where I buried my imposter.
It was the in-between place through which love reached,
I came up laughing.

But I didn't really see all that at the time.
Because most days, it was just life with small children in a small apartment.
Only later did I label it Chrysalis.

And isn't every season of life some stage of metamorphosis,
some part of the Story,
character~plot~bad guys closing in . . .
We can't really identify where we are at in the story, but when we realize that it is a story we are telling,  things mean more.
It isn't just oatmeal you are stirring every morning at seven,
it is nutrition and childhood and ritual and a subplot of several stories.
These bowls piled in the sink are the daily labor, the slow unfolding of story that will one day be told, with a sigh,
ages and ages hence . . .

Even the things we strain against become weightier, meaningful . .. beautiful . .. when set against the backdrop of story.

I once believed we would come upon those two roads in the yellow wood only once,
and it was profoundly crucial that we choose the right one.
I think now that we come upon a fork in the road daily, hourly,
and we have the opportunity every day, moment by moment, which one we will choose,
to embrace the one less traveled by,
and to see the journey fresh,
 leaves no step has trodden black . . .

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