Friday, January 2, 2015

A Resolution to Droopy Eyes

I had this really beautiful start to a blog written - all about how I don't really 'do' New Year's Resolutions because every day is full of commitments & falling-ever-short attempts to improve, grow, accomplish, relinquish, give up the bad, pursue the good...

I put away Christmas today, it was as melancholy a trip down nostalgia lane as one would expect - especially considering our ornaments are now a menagerie of my childhood, my husband's childhood, and now our children's first smattering of memories. Nothing screams "life is brief, don't blink" quite like putting away ornaments one only sees once a year. Some of those ornaments, now coming near 25-30 years of age, look as if they could be brand new. The ones from this year still seem to glisten wet with factory-fresh paint.

And I had this moment where I realized the only resolution I want to make, and need to make both this New Years and each day morning forward, is to return again to the phrase "that my soul may breathe deeply". It seems such a beautiful phrase, especially in moments when I gently and slowly put away the Ethiopian nativity scene, wrapping the ceramic pieces in tattered shreds of newspaper covered in Amharic - a reminder that times are fleeting, places change, and people truly come and go sometimes as quickly as a breeze. Breathe deeply.

I finished re-packing Christmas and sat down to write a blog all about embracing every moment, letting my soul breathe deeply - a blog about enjoying chocolate chip cookies in all their warm, buttery goodness and about leaving the dirty dishes to pile high while I relish in my children in their last few years of wide-eyed wonder. And as I started this blog, a wet-headed 3 year old ran out, snuggled in pajamas, for yet another bed-time hug. She practically pushed the laptop to the floor as she wheedled her way out of bedtime and into another prolonged mommy-hug, complete with begs for butterfly kisses.

As sweet as this all may sound, the truth is a prolonged mommy-hug/snuggle had already occurred; butterfly kisses had been simultaneously administered to both brother and sister (which, for inquiring minds, does indeed require recipients to engage in a near eskimo kiss). Kind words had been spoken, encouragement for the day behind, and anticipation for the day ahead - still more hugs and was a much longer snuggle than normal. And as I sent them off to bed, and settled into my blogging, I found myself high on the idea of my soul breathing deeply in those moments.

But then the wet-headed interruption, which culminated in 3 year old antics, which culminated in said 3 year old tumbling backwards and sideways off the couch and smacking her head several times on every angle possible of the coffee table on her way to to the floor. And my soul flat out stopped breathing - it started fuming, looking for some way to quench the screaming and rush the soothing so I could return to my blogging about the beauty of breathing deeply. And mercifully, I noticed in the moment - too often I don't. I noticed, and I struggled to resuscitate my soul. To let my mind tell my soul that my arms were designed to hold her when she cries, and my words were meant to heal and not deepen wounds, and I'm blessed because my children run to me when they are hurt, not away.

And as my soul started breathing, just an ever so tiny bit (hardly deeply), I realized why this resolution is the only one I want to make - it's because it is the one that will allow me not to miss the years rushing past; not to merely see them, but to deeply breathe them in. Inhaling every moment, not only the good, has potential to be excruciatingly painful - admitting defeat, or weakness, or injury, or disappointment, or sadness hurts. But maybe, just maybe, breathing them in just as readily as the triumphs, joys, and laughter makes the triumph, joy, and laughter that much sweeter.  And even more significantly, maybe the pain is ultimately softened by lingering remnants of deeply-inhaled good.

Ornaments look new because they essentially are - they each spend less than 1/12 of the year 'breathing'. If I functioned at the same rate, I would have spent 2 years and 5 months of my 29 years of life actually 'breathing'. And I would still look shiny and new.

But, shiny and new isn't my goal; it's to breathe deeply - of all of it. Not to turn from or gag on the challenges, but to accept them with measured breath, an awake mind, and a grateful spirit; knowing they are just as a critical to life as their lighthearted counterparts.

We read The Velveteen Rabbit a few times this holiday season, and if you haven't yet, consider it. The little Rabbit asks the Skin Horse about becoming real:

"what is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin horse. "It's a thing that happens to you...."

"Does it hurt?"

"Sometimes." For he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." 

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?

"It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, expect to people who don't understand." 


The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him. 


I, for one, agree with the Rabbit. But Real doesn't happen from valuing only the evergreen scented breaths of life. And so, for this year, and any more to come, I resolve to not only pursue and relish in the easy-to-see good, but also to live 12/12 of the year,  not to rush through hurt or inconvenience as fast as I can and ultimately - to value loose joints, rubbed off hair, and droopy eyes...and all the breaths that take me there.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Favorites