Friday, March 4, 2011

A Rainy Sail Down Memory Lane


I'm sailing down a County Road in a banged-up mini van, three kids behind me, three cups of juice. I've got all the trappings - diapers, hats, the miscellaneous toys that slink out to the car when no one's looking. From the very edge of my rear-view mirror I see a far-away look in the chocolate-almond eyes of my oldest. His cheek rests against the cool of the pane, he's quiet. He's moments away from a needle in his arm and he's done it hundreds of times before, but he's older now, and the older you are, the more you know. And sometimes, the more you know, the more things hurt.

It sounds like the beginning of a sad story, but look again.

We sail on, sail on. We sail past two houses that not long ago I pictured myself in. Both were plucked up by quicker, less-encumbered hands. And that's alright.

I slide a cd into the player and I am swept away.

I'm 15 years old, playing hide-and-seek. There's a boy I know and I want him to find me. I stay quiet, hunkered down low, because that's how the game is played, but I can't help myself from peeking my right eye around the edge of the door. I'm right here.


My hair is sweaty on my forehead and I look a fright, but the air is just so gauzy and the night feels so young. He meets my eye and for a moment I believe that I've been found.

And then I'm 16, and I'm just barely beginning to understand that life is stretched out in front of me like a liquid furl of satin ribbon. I think back to last Summer's sticky end and wish I could just go back there, where life was lived. Now, I spend my days stacking boxes on the slick surfaces of the scale. One for my side, two for yours. I tip over and start again.

I'm 17 and I'm about to leave home and it's harder to walk away from some people than others. I sprint ahead, away from the feeling of helplessness that managed to creep beneath my skin. I run like I'm nine years old with brand new shoes. But I can't stop looking over my shoulder as I run, because life won't ever be the same. I want to rush ahead and I want to stand stock-still in the middle of a many-armed hug. I want everything. But mostly, I want everything done right.


The van is still quiet. It seems even two-year olds understand the hallowed significance of the first rainy prelude to Spring.

We sail through a tunnel of apple trees, a naked orchard ripe with possibility, and my heart spills over and I cannot help but smile. And I know. I know what this means.

I flew back to my past on the flag of a quarter-note. I was there...and I was here. I grazed the curve of that full circle with the flat of my hand and felt for myself that there were no cracks, no breaks.

I was loved back then, when life was so hard, in a pretend sort of way.

I am loved right now, in my banged up mini van.

Consider this. Consider that the next time you feel your heart spill over in a moment so utterly ordinary, it's the Love of God filtering through like moonlight, illuminating, making a way for you. There's just no other option. You may not believe me, you may not feel it or even want to. But the next time it happens, just stretch out your hand. Dare it to come nearer.

49 comments:

  1. beautiful, beautiful. and just what i needed to read in this moment.

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  3. BEAUTIFUL! I felt like I was there with you on that memory lane....you are a fantastic writer. If this is how your book is going to be - I know I won't put it down.
    All of you, enjoy the day!

    sarah xo

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  4. Beautiful, perceptive...I really know what you mean by running your hand over the curve of your past, checking you know it rightly, checking there are no cracks, that you understand your past. I'd never fully recognised the feeling until you described it, that is powerful writing, farmgirl!

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  5. I'm breathless! The little epiphanies realizing that you are right where God meant for you to be are beautiful and priceless.

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  6. WOW! just so beautiful! you are amazing, wonderful really!

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  7. Love this! And love moments like this. Overwhelming in a beautiful way!

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  8. Mmm, I like Deb's comment. This is beauty-full. And makes me even more anxious for your published work to be in my hands!

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  9. This is some top-notch writing my friend.

    Beautiful.

    bye.

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  10. I was just at the park. I know what you are saying. I feel it in the big trees. Where there are big trees there are ghosts of the past and the present and the future, all spilling over in one delicious drink of an afternoon.

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  11. the liquid furl of satin ribbon captured my heart in a way i am sure i can't properly express. beautiful words, shannan. only more proof that you are, in fact, a writer.

    :)

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  12. "Dare it to come nearer." Absolutely beautiful! And it somehow left me the kind of speechless that made me want to comment just to say, "I'm speechless." In the best of ways! :)

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  13. I just wanted to thank you for writing. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I can come to your blog and hear words of wisdom, encouragement, heavenly things, time and time again. God has given you a gift, and you are using it, well. I just wanted to thank you for that.

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  14. That was so beautiful! You are such a gifted writer. Bless you for reminding me that it is in the small things that we can experience the sweet, tender love of God.

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  15. You just breathed hope into my heart today. Thank you.

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  16. You are AMAZING...you made my heart happy reading this.

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  17. This is so full of....feeling.
    I felt like I could hear breathing, pulses racing, the wind blowing, gasping....

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  18. Golly, Farmgirl. I don't even know what to say. Your words are a song. A very pretty song.

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  19. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you!

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  20. Beautiful words. Your gift is to write. Your gift is to share. Thank you! ~Beth Kreider

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  21. these, holy words, friend. i feel i should take off my shoes. i love you.

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  22. Absolutely took my breath away! You are so talented!

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  23. beautiful Shannan, as always the word of a true writer! I can't wait to stand in line at the book signing!

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  24. Because when you dare the moment to come closer, when you beckon the chances and possibilities that happen in that light, you experience the love and strength coming from Him.....

    You are very talented....I love this post.

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  25. Oh! How I love what you do with words, and love an ordinary day and God's moonlit love filtering through!

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  26. What beautiful post. I just loved every word.

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  27. This is my first time here and WOW! You have a gift. I was taken away with your words...just beautiful.

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  28. Amazing, you are Shanny. Thank you for taking us on your trip down memory lane. Those 17 year old feelings, I see that in Maddie. You captured that so well.

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  29. That was just stunning.... Thank you. For this and your whole fantastic blog, I would like to give you an award. The details are over here One Lovely Blog Award. Enjoy!

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  30. you are beautiful!
    your words reach out like that expanse of ribbon and wrap around and pull us all in... latching to our hearts, pulling strings, making us feel. what a gift.
    xo

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  31. What a great post. Makes me want to ride in your banged up van.
    -FringeGirl

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  32. And to think I want no one to see me in my banged-up mini van. I hide my van sometimes at events, or parking lots. Don't tell anyone this, I just point my finger and say, "I'm parked over there." Now I know I am in the greatest of company. Love you and the beautiful way you have with words.
    ~G~

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  33. lovely, lovely, lovely.

    I love when what is in your heart spills out for the rest of us to catch, admire and apply to our lives.

    Thank you for this sweet, grateful, spot of sunshine today.

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  34. i can't believe you stopped. i'm w/ the above comments...you have a gift! is there a published thing for me to look for? beautisimous! and i don't know the whole story of your son...now i have to go digging...
    good job! keep shining His light!

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  35. Music offers the incomparable gift of being able to transport us to a specific place along memory lane. Thanks for inviting us to travel with you. Beautifully written. :)

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  36. Love this post so much! Thank you!

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  37. shannan, that book is going to be amazing, your writing is just breathtaking. You know the books that are so good, after you get done reading them, you hold them in your hands and run your hand over the cover, I imagine a book filled up with your writing would make me do that.

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  38. I just love what Jenny said about finishing a wonderful book and then running your hand over the cover as if to soak up the goodness forever....your book will be exactly that. So beautiful that I instantly went to Amazon to listen to a little Amy Grant back in the day...Unguarded....and took my own trip down the lane of memory......

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  39. *sigh*

    i think i need to whisper here. this is more than beautiful.

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  40. yep. mountains moving.
    xo
    shaunna

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  41. Lovely! I love how music can create such moments of recall.

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  42. I'm glad I'm just getting here now. I needed this now. I didn't need it yesterday. Or this morning. But now. I love you Shabs.

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  43. Love your perspective of wonder and joy, and the gift you have of helping others see beauty in the seemingly mundane
    Xoxo

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