Take hold of something real

The spring mud has sprung. And with it, rainboots, and shovels, and lots of laundry. But the grins on those snowpant, mitten-less kiddos as they come in from their mud pies and explorations...

As an adult, have you forgotten how to play? Do you remember the squish of mud between your toes, the sucking sounds as your boot is swallowed in the wallow and you come up bootless and stranded on one leg like a pink flamingo?

Do you recall the joy of the wheels sputtering along with the flying mud painting your back a caked brown? The glory of the driveway emerging from white and a whole new vista of play to be discovered all over again in spring?

Revelry. We lose it as adults. And so often twist it to mean something different...drinking, long late nights with friends, things that leave us spent and de-energized instead of re-energized.

I go out every day, to a prayer spot in the woods. Near the grave of my son, a short homemade bench made of a scrap 2x4 and a couple of logs. Up in Echo Woods, where our pets and our baby are buried under rock cairns the children add to with each agate find from the driveway. I sit there for 10 minutes, the sun warming my face a rosy red, breathe deep, and pray. Pray for people going home to God, people dying on the vine, people bickering, and wondering, and confused and distraught. I pray for my children, each by name, for their needs for the day. And as those 10 minutes pass by in the blink of an eye, and I sludge back through the muddy grass back to the house, I remember spring. In my gut. The way spring used to be. Slinging mud at my brothers and building tunnels for the rivers of snow run-off in the yard.

Yesterday I sat, in my 1950's steel chair, painted a happily rusting white, and watched my children revel as children do. How do I reclaim that? Is it in the French hip-hop dance-off we hold in our living room after lunch? In the quiet moments spent typing when my mind goes free and poetry flows and photos fly up to match the words I write? Is it the dance at night with my husband, the play together with the man I know every inch of? Is it the thrill of a new friend, or the kitten up on my shoulder begging to have her ears rubbed, or the blues that blare from the speakers while I cook dinner?

You come out of a hard season hungry. Hungry for hope. Hungry for healthiness. Hungry for happiness. I watch the children in the mud and realize that children never lose that - hope, healthiness, happiness. Left to their own devices, they mine it for themselves in something as simple as a mud puddle in the drive-way. 
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. (Mark 10:15 The Message)

I held on so dearly
To the wrong things in my life
But now I see so clearly
I was walking into my own knife
You've got to get up off that street
Stop looking at your feet
And take a hold of something real
And this old man, took my hand
He looked at me and said, little girl, I understand
He said, I know your song, I know your name,
and there was a time when I felt the same

That it's a low low road
You've gotta roll down
Before you find your way, my friend
And it's a high, high hill
You've gotta climb up
Before you get to the top again

And there was a time that I thought that I knew it all
And there was a place that I thought I could call my own
But it all came crashing down and I looked around
And I knew that things would never be the same
~ Grace Potter, Low Road ~