Monday, September 10, 2012

Living Anyway

When the first morning of vacation began with a tumble of little bodies into our bed instead of my usual quiet cup of pre-dawn tea, the first thing I thought was, “I’m not gonna get much writing done this summer.”  It was hard to shutter the construction of my thoughts for a season but it was also refreshing to forget about self-imposed deadlines and worming my way in front of the computer before my husband could claim it for the night.  Those 10 weeks were full, brimming with outdoor adventures and lots of indoor lounging.  Ultimately, I didn’t regret taking a break to enjoy life with our young family.  I know these days are brief and memories must be caught whenever life pauses long enough for the butterfly net to snag a laugh, tousle or hand that still wants to be held.  There will always be days for writing but the days of having a little boy asking for his back to be scratched as he wakes up or a little girl wanting her worries to be calmed in prayer at bedtime won’t linger long.   Like Mary, I have been treasuring them up in my heart, right up to the last day of summer when the chaos of a school routine fell upon us once again.

After shuttling the kids to school, the first day with a quiet house still had the residue of children all over it...running back down the road with a forgotten lunchbox...turning the summer art table back into a fall homework table...washing and folding the beach towels  & swimsuits one last time.  I didn’t find time to sit at the computer for anything other than updating the fall sports calendar.  As I walked to the bus stop, eager to see the kids and hear about their first day as 2nd graders, I noticed one of the neighbor’s mailboxes.  It’s the one that always has bright sunflowers growing right up against it...beautiful this time of year and easy to see as I rounded the corner of our street.  

What caught my eye wasn’t the tangle of yellow sunbursts growing where they had been planted, but rather the one that had managed to grow by accident, a few feet away, in a crack where the street and curb met.  Just as tall and just as in an unexpected place. I was so taken with it that I ran back to the house to grab my camera (by now, I should know that taking my camera everywhere with me is a must.)  

The kids were full of stories to tell and the walk home felt shorter because of their exuberance.  As we passed the errant sunflower, my daughter paused to admire it.  “Look how beautiful, Mom!”  When she asked why the neighbor had planted it in such a strange place, I explained that the seed had probably been moved there by the rain or by a bird picking through the dirt.  “Well,” she replied, “that seed just decided it had to grow anyway.”  

Oh, sweetie, what truth you speak, I thought as we trekked home.  Life does indeed decide to grow anyway, doesn’t it?  So often not on the schedule we had planned or in the spaces that we had prepared for it.  I think we live best when we exchange the scramble for the pause, the itinerary for the hiatus. 

I whispered a prayer as she reached for my hand.  Lord, as we start this new season of busier-than-ever life, may I always make time for the anyway places where You have set a seed to growing.   

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