14 May 2004

Grace Notes

14 May 2004

I have a very clear memory of whiling away at least one science class thinking about what I would name my children when I had them.  

Keep in mind that there was no prospective mate in the picture when I was dreaming up baby-names.  There was also no interest on my part in having children until I had completed college.  Apparently coming up with names for potential children was more interesting than what ever the teacher had on his agenda that day (the feminist in me requires me to note that the use of the male pronoun is intentional as there were no female science teachers at my high school).

I have always had a very strong connection to my family.  Even when I was a teenager and was having difficulties with family of the specific kind, family in general, family history, and family stories were things that I have found compelling.  It was natural that I would think about continuing my family, at least in the abstract.

For nearly fourteen years, those names were dormant in my memory, popping up every now an then as I remembered bits and pieces about high school or as I thought about what the future would bring.  I went to college, met my future husband, got my degree, got married, moved, got work, lost work, moved again, found more work, saved, bought a house and finally had a child.  He didn't end up with any of the names I had picked out when I was day-dreaming in class.   

My life took the path I expected when I was sixteen but I find, looking back on those dreams, that I was sorely lacking in imagination.  I dreamt that I would attend college with my best friends.  Instead I choose to go to a small strange school a thousand miles from my hometown.  I dreamed that I would get married before having children.  I never could have imagined what a smart, creative, loving, kind, generous, and above all persistent person I would ultimately fall in love with and marry.  I dreamed that I would live in a house with a yard.   I was surprised to find that the house for me would include a wonderful housemate as well as husband and that the house itself, along with being funky, would be one long, on-going project.

All this was brought home for me last Saturday as I watched my five-year-old son perform in a mass violin concert put on by his music school.  He stood up with fifty or more people, ranging in age from four to full grown adult, in the dressy outfit that he had picked out himself.  He paid attention to the teachers and played when he was supposed to.  As one of four people who got to hold him just after he was born, I was deeply moved to see him so grown up. It was equally amazing to see him return to his more casual self and insist on staying after the concert to give all of the teachers a triumphal high-five.

My life is just what I have imagined, but it is also so much more.  My dreams were pedestrian and mundane compared to the wondrous life I have stumbled into.

This is not to say that I do not have difficult times, but rather that, for that one moment Saturday last week, I was given grace to see clearly the amazing people that share my life.

My moment of glory did not center around a thing, or accomplishment, or anything that I could control.  The light fantastic that brushed by me reminded me that my gold, my treasure lives in the souls of my family of blood, family of choice, and in my friends.  That shining moment also reminded me that such treasure is ephemeral and should be cherished even more highly because it cannot be earned. It is a gift bestowed by those who choose to let me into their lives.  It is a gift of grace, and love.

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