Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Balloon's Edge and the Fear of Falling

The Balloon's Edge and the Fear of Falling

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“But how do you find the balloon’s edge” he asked me so small and yet so big at once.

“What do you mean?  Do you mean the end of the balloon?” I am thinking hard here, because even though he is no bigger than a minute, he is smaller than an hour and twice as fast.  I am thinking dimensions, helium, loss of flight, weighted down by oxygen. 

“How do you know the edge of what it is to be a balloon?”

Well you might as well of asked me what the constancy of a tomato can is in the middle of the Pacific for all I knew how to answer this question.

Before I could come up with something even perfunctorily profound, Jake was off and running to trip up his old mother’s psyche once again. And it is a glorious thing to see, because for him, for four, everything is possible.  And answerable and even better, I’m here to give him an answer, and I am THE answer lady. But between you and me, I’m not so sure what the edge is of the balloon.  Of what it is or what it isn’t (and this isn’t going to be some existential “sound of one hand clapping” kind of deal), but honestly, I think it has a lot to do with what we perceive of what we can be, and what we actually find we can do.

It would be awful incarnate for me to dash any dream that grows out of his brain, wouldn't it?  To tell him he "couldn't" do something.  It's my own fear that does the reeling in, yet it always seems to do more harm than good.  I do it with all of the musketeers, this hemming of ideas, most recently to his older brother, Sam who was going to a birthday party just the other day.  We got the present and the card and he was just about to pass out from the anticipation of it all, then he came up to me with a tightly folded piece of paper, almost artistic in the pleats, and said,"I want to give this to M."  I was worried, I looked at it and it was a drawing with his friend's name and his own hands traced.  Giving of self.  Too much, I thought, he'll be laughed at and it'll all start again.    "Sam," I say, "I don't know if he needs this, I mean, we have a card..." but wouldn't you know in that very moment, Sam swallowed hard and his cheeks burned bright.  I was crushing him, his heart says he can do this and it's the right thing and the drawing was a thing of beauty, his very self on a sheet of scrap paper.  He was so willing just to let himself be, and show his gift of loving to a child who had formerly been, well, not very nice to him.  "Okay," I say, "you're right.  He's your friend, I'm sure he'll love it."  The clouds I created parted.  I didn't stand in the way.  Whatever his gift is, this Samshine of mine, it has to play out the way God has intended.  

So many times, I think about the things I wanted to do or thought I could do and was just afraid to.  Maybe I was told I couldn't, or that I wasn't good at it.  Maybe I was afraid of being laughed at or labeled.  It could've been a combination of all of it.  The thing I didn't realize was that although it seemed that solid blockades were being placed in those paths, in actuality, they were just cobwebs.  Dusty spaces that the (tor)mentor had placed there because they were afraid to go where I was planning to head.  For glory's sake, I don't want to board up the imagination of what the boys think they can be.  

You know, right here, this blog you’re reading?  Well, this was no easy thing for me.  There are days I sit down to write worried and witless.  It took a lot to get me here to release my ideas of ‘isms out into the Internet ether.  Unlike social media, there are no controls, no ways to make sure your words get into a friend’s hands.  No way to know for sure if you’re really being able to line match up perception and reality.  Books are different creatures.  You write in relative isolation and then

Camomile Hixon Glitter Art

off you are into the brave world waiting for edits and critiques and rewrites and then more reviews.  It’s cessation and then complete debauchery.  That seems to be it from this small view of my desk anyway.  But at this point, this point, I am starting to get what it was about.  What it’s supposed to be about anyway.  Do what you’re good at, and it’ll get better and brighter and even more glorious.

Everyone told me that I should be writing.  Why wasn’t I writing?  I needed to be writing.  I gave a lot of reasons why I wasn’t: I was too tired, not enough hours in the day, I didn’t know what to say, maybe no one would be interested in anything I had to say?    But I was protesting too much, and too loudly, like a child who really needs reassurance of what he can do.  I knew exactly where the edge was for me.  I knew how high I could go.

“God’s gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully.” 1 Peter 4:10

There it is, as plainly as anything ever was.  You know that thing you do—the thing that you love that comes so easily to you and fills you with joy?  Something where your steps are sure, your stitches are even?  It’s a gift.  And the other part of it is, when you use it, however you use it, it will be blessed and strengthened. 

It feels and sounds so simple.  Strengthen and train what grace has given you so that you can share it. Instead of trying to do so many different things and feeling like you are falling right off the edge of the world, just give in to what you love to do.  Is it singing?  Is it dancing?  Is it painting, is it reading?  Is it just being there, present, and actively listening for the story you know is there.  The compassion you keep?  The kindness that you sow?  You are doing it, you're great at it. It's time to let the world in on it. I'm not saying the acting out of it is easy, it never, ever, ever is.  But you are gifted, it's in the moments that you are in the quiet and you smile.  Even if that is in the breath of your baby or the silent tread of your own heart, it's in you.  You can do it.  You are doing it.  Find a way to share it.  Exercise it and you'll see, saying "yes" to what you have been born to do and graced with will show you doors opening one after another, domino doors in reverse.  That's what I've found.  Every time I wanted to stop, another step on the path would be laid for me.   

 
we're cheering you on!
  

So, how ‘bout it?  Where’s your edge?  Get in the mood to find it,  and share it here, let's just start figuring out where it is--you’ve only got the rest of your life to explore the answer.

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