Once upon a time… a really, really long time ago… there was a rather awkward high school student. She wasn’t ever quite sure where she fit in.
She was not, even then, flexible enough to be a cheerleader.
She believed, though it wasn’t totally true, that she was utterly tone deaf, so band was out, too.
She tried Drama Club for a bit but it was complicated by mostly mandatory family weekend fishing trips.
She did have a couple of skills, though. She was good at setting up science labs.
And, she pretty much aced the whole reading and writing thing which seemed, at least back then, to have some promise.
Thus, she was appointed the Grammar Police for the yearbook staff.
Please don’t tell, but she often gave herself permission to break the rules! Especially the one about not ending sentences with participles!
She had two favorites. Noticing. And Wondering.
And, yes, she turned into me. And I still love noticing. And wondering.
It’s a pretty useful strategy these days. I mean, there’s a whole lot of both that needs doing! And, since both of my granddaughters are in middle school, it seems like an excellent time to model a bit of each!
Doing a right brain – left brain cross lateral thing seems to help. Knitting, perhaps. And painting. Dog brushing doesn’t work quite the same way, but is also useful!
Yesterday, it was mainly painting. With a bit of company from season 18 of Top Chef.
As I focused on liberating a figure from all the layers and layers of background, I listened to a delightfully global mix of chefs trying to figure out how to put themselves on a plate, as it were.
Which I couldn’t help but notice sounded quite a bit like I was feeling, trying to put a version of me on canvas.
As the chefs chopped and chatted, one theme kept reappearing. The tension between what they grew up thinking they should be and do and even eat – vs – what they were discovering about their sense of what they hoped to create in that moment. Their intention, if you will.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
It’s a feeling I know well, that tension. If you’re any older than the Gen X crowd, you may know it well, too.
Frankly, I suspect everybody knows it, even though it’s less cool than it used to be.
While I went on noticing and wondering and making dots, a phrase began repeating itself inside me.
The work of my hands…
Five dots and repeat. Each word with its own dot.
Noticing and wondering.
When I shivered, I remembered.
Cold. Hungary in 1989. The ninetieth Psalm, repeated aloud, by heart, in the Reformed Church. Every Sunday.
The work of our hands, establish Thou it.
What if that… whatever our spiritual traditions… was the question we helped our littles to ask?
Them. Their gifts. Their passions.
Just the way they are, free of expectations except, at least for me, compassion.
I know. It’s a leap for some of us. And I’m still not mobile or coordinated enough for literal leaping.
But there are still participles. And I’m still noticing and wondering.
How about you?
There’s still time to check out the year-long journey, Forest of Grandmothers. Just in case it’s calling to you. No paint experience needed! As with many journeys, newness awaits! If you think you might belong, you can!
ps… another glimpse at my Legend painting in progress. More details, soon. Let’s just say that the generations are gathering. And helping!