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Dirty napkins, homework packets, sticky jam spots,
markers, crumbs around my reading pile,
I try to focus on pages, but eyes
keep finding mess in the periphery.
No time to clean, only a few minutes to do this reading,
but little girl me keeps tugging at my sleeve,
no real care to order, the checklist,
she wants to play,
and grownup me senses the nudge of the mysterious yes.
I brush crumbs to the floor, wipe goo with a rag,
pile up all manner of stuff onto another table
out of sight.
Pull a plump ceramic bird from the drawer,
light a candle, pluck flowers from a wilting arrangement,
place them in a green glass bottle that catches light.
So easy and beautiful,
and it takes all of three minutes,
and I sigh, happy.
I walk outside into the fall air and ask God to meet me today,
in delight and wonder,
pray for kid eyes to see,
and the gold leaves wink against blue sky, and the branches swoop
to greet me, to hold my hand,
cup my face, give a high five, and I’m smiling.
Breeze moves like breath and the steady sun warms
my face, my feet pound on sidewalk, my heart beats
I’m holding not-enoughs and what-nexts, spinning
worries like ceramic plates,
and I do not have time to dance when I’ve got all these plates,
and those still in the sink,
but I go.
Without knowing, I’m half an hour early to the school gym,
and so is my neighbor, and we talk,
and I let myself open as plates slow.
I tell how I’m struggling to find my new rhythm,
and she is gracious, and I release more,
tell her (and me) that I hadn’t realized until just then
how I was clenching what’s not mine
I feel the music through worn soles of my tennis shoes,
up into my dangly arms,
and my head clears,
and I’m following the teacher across the floor,
hips swaying, hands opening to circle me,
beholding the beauty of how we all dance.
I let go with the sweat that streams
down my face, wets my hair.
I am a child,
enjoying the miracle of my own skin,
lungs that fill and empty,
limbs that remember dance in their fibers,
find their way to twirl again.
I receive the moment,
wonderstruck by gift,
head scarves, tennis shoes
and yoga pants,
shades of brown and white skin,
all of us breathing air and
beats coursing through the grade school gym,
and I’m a loved woman
and a child again.
This post is inspired by Laura Boggess’ new book, “Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World.” Friends, I highly recommend this book! As I savor Laura’s journey to reclaim her intimate relationship with God through the eyes of imagination, love and childlike faith, my own eyes are being opened to God’s call to come away and play — to know joy even in the midst of this very grown-up world. The response has been so great to this book because heavy and hard press in on every side, and we know we need joy, and sometimes we don’t know how to see it or capture it in the midst of all the other stuff. So while Amazon is temporarily out of stock, you can order “Playdates” at Barnes & Noble or Hearts and Minds Books (“who ship everywhere and provide wonderful service,” says the author herself).
Now, the giveaway…
You can enter to win a free copy of “Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World” by leaving a comment saying why you’d like a copy of Laura’s new book. How might you benefit from reconnecting (or connecting for the first time) with your own childlike faith? Do you recognize your own need for play? Have you found a way to incorporate wonder into your life? I will announce the winner — plucked from the hat or bowl by one of my girls — next week. Stay tuned!