"So often do the spirits of great events stride on before the events. And in today already walks tomorrow."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I didn't intend to wait six weeks and one day before writing again. My goal, when I started this blog, was to discipline myself into writing at least twice a week, and so, by that standard, the ensuing days are a fairly large FAIL.
And yet, there was life in those days.
I remember getting our first (and, now that I think about it, only) camcorder when the children were little. Roughly the size of a small car, I would dutifully hoist it onto my shoulder in order to capture moments I didn't want to lose. But I also remember experiencing a sense of dismay, that in the midst of capturing life I wasn't actually participating in it. Don't get me wrong--I'm grateful for those vhs tapes and all that they recall. But there was a reason for not replacing that video recorder when it finally bit the dust. It was time to get in the picture.
The weeks that piled, one atop another, have held some precious moments--and some indescribable pain. How can we know what each day brings, the treasure of breath, the weight of loss, experience which becomes us like the rings of a tree--part of our dna and yet, so often invisible to the casual observer.
In bleachers around the city, I watched high school basketball with people I barely knew four months ago and whom I now call friends. Saw victory begat victory, young men play with purpose and a young coach rise to the occasion.
One month ago exactly, I awakened to the sight of my youngest child, newly 16. Our wait at the DMV was spent in the company of three women friends, one six months sober, taking steps at life with the joy of a child; getting a driver's license, a job, a purpose in the very middle of her days. "This is a birthday present to you," I told my son with tears in my eyes,"her story is a gift from God." He nodded slowly, understanding and that, to me was a gift.
My oldest child came home for a week and though we did not kill the fatted calf, oh we rejoiced in every minute of his company. He hollered at the refs watching his brothers play basketball, did his laundry and treated us as his dearest friends. He wept when he left and though his life is elsewhere, his heart still beats in time to his original home. How can words do such love justice?
I watched my fourth child grow, in the space of one week, in such wisdom and stature that the mere thought of him reduced me to tears. Honor and courage, in such short supply were his in abundance; heartbreak no match for the hand that reaches out to God and finds also, the shoulder of a brother in arms--'we few, we happy few."
And just like that, I found myself in a foreign land. An airplane ride, a trip through customs, a jacket on a passing stranger that read, Grace. Oxford University, once a concept, is now an actual place, a home for my beloved daughter, a greenhouse for great thoughts, for love, the life she lives so richly and happily shared.
Over my shoulder and across an ocean, I look back at that day and see how little I knew about what lay ahead, what courage would be needed, how many joys could co-exist with heartbreak; hope, against all odds, rising. Life takes time, I think as I look to the door and hear tomorrow's knock.