“The most visible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself, the ones who express inexpressible, without brush, hammer, clay or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt, their medium is being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don’t have to draw. They are artists of being alive.” Donna J. Stone
As my eyes adjusted to the light in the room, my husband snuggled up behind me and ran his fingers through my hair. As he snuggled closer and we laid skin to skin, I enjoyed the sensation of the very first touch of the day. I thought this moment is the moment of what life is about, what we as beings are made for, to touch skin to skin and soul to soul. Often when I wake up, I fill my head with the to-do-list and feel the urge to rise and get busy right away as there are only so many hours in the day.
After 911, I remember reading a memory from a woman who lost her husband the day the planes flew into the twin towers. She wrote, “as he left for work, he bent down and kissed my cheek and said I love you, and I remember being half awake and half asleep feeling annoyed that he was disturbing me from my sleep. Only if I had known a few hours later I would lose him, If only I had known that my husband would be at work and the building would come down all around him. I would have pulled him back into bed and held onto him forever.”
I’ve never forgotten her words and the act of her writing those words changed my life from the very moment I read her passage. I never take any moment for granted; I linger in the moment, I forge in the forest, I walk slower than I need to, I say “I love you” every time my boys and my husband walk out the door, even if they are just running a quick errand. Our voyage in our time capsule takes many twists and turns and as much as we try to steer the vessel and control the mechanics, the journey is not within our control. We don’t always see the hill, the mountains the bumps, or the fork in the road. Our body just rides the waves and we feel the shock of every twist and turn. Some of those twists and turns shower us with great happiness and exhilaration and others throw us into despair leaving behind deep wounds that shock us to the core of our beings.
My mother once said to me, “Johanne you have to ride each wave of happiness to the fullest because you never know when the next wave of sadness will hit you.” It’s true, life is just like the waves that hit the beach. Some waves are big and some waves are small, yet each wave carries its own energy and the energy within each wave has the capacity to be gentle and loving hugging the shoreline or the wave has the capacity to be forceful and powerful cutting into the the shoreline like a knife through the heart. So when my boys leave the house and I call out “I love you” and they don’t answer back. I always respond with, “I didn’t hear you” and they call out “love you too.”
I know the boys think I’m crazy, but I am very aware that their time capsules are about to take a turn away from the dock where their ship has been secured for so long. Both boys are about to face the waves of life as they navigate through the calm and rough waters. Since the boys were babies, I’ve always felt that the most important part of my job was to sit back and let be. Of course my husband and I had rules that the boys had to follow, we also disciplined them when it was necessary for the boys to learn from their mistakes, but above all we let them be their own beings and let them trip over the stones and obstacles that were on their path as they walked toward their time capsules and prepared for the journey of life.
While the boys were in elementary school, my youngest complained to me one time that many of the boys in his class had play dates and he didn’t have any. Of course being a mother my heart sank, acutely aware of the loneliness he was experiencing, the longing to be a part of the world around him. The problem was that I was a firm believer that the boys should find their own friends and that it wasn’t my job to pick their friends for them. I believed that wandering through the tangled vines of learning who was a friend and who was not set the tone for their time capsules in their lifelong journey.
At that moment I was torn, do I pick a child and call his mother to set a play date or do I leave it and have the faith that things will work out exactly as they should? One day in the school parking lot, a mom approached me and said, “I would like to arrange a play date for our sons to get together.” I was elated, felt like fate was playing into my hands. That night I told my son that I had arranged a play date and his eyes dropped to the ground. I said “what’s wrong, I thought you wanted a play date?” He said, “I do but I don’t like that guy.”
It was at that moment, I realized my son was already in his time capsule, making decisions on his own, reading people’s personalities and deciding what was best for him. I was aware that when my son reached the age of twenty, he would be more than capable of picking his tribe and the day he told me “I don’t like that guy” was the first step to him finding his tribe and the start of his lifelong journey. I had two waves hit me that day, one of despair as I wasn’t sure what to do about the arranged play date and one of elation as I realized my son was listening to his being. For the record, he did go on that play date and even though the boys were never close friends, he had a great time that day and saw a few things in that boy that he had never seen before, strengths about the boy that he liked and of course he found that they had something in common and that was Star Wars Lego.
As my time capsule veers off on it’s own course, I take with me the many lessons I have learned and keep those memories buried in a secret compartment below the controls in my capsule. No matter what wave hits me, the wave is not able to erase those memories and lessons that have served my being well. The world is vast and many of the experiences in my time capsule may be small compared to other time capsules. That’s the very essence that I love about my capsule, it’s mine and no one can say to me that my experiences are not good enough, not big enough or not deep enough. What I choose to fill the compartment in my time capsule with is all mine and it’s in the quiet moments that I spend with my being reliving those moments together, I come to the realization those moments are what make up this life journey. Those moments are all that I need and they fill my being with both, elation and injury.
It is sitting in silence that I hear my being and we work together to revel in the elation and heal the wounds as we continue to prepare the time capsule for the endless journey; bracing for the waves that may throw us off course.