"For no greater treasure could there be under any lock and key/ Than to be a beggar fully freed/ Poor in Paradise with Thee..."-- Margaret Becker.
I think it was the weather that did me in. I walked outside after a rough day at work on Saturday and stopped. Right there in the middle of the parking lot, I stopped. Seven in the evening, middle of spring, the air a perfect mixture of the remembrance of cool breezes and the anticipation of sun on the back of my neck, I said thanks, but no thanks.
A promotion that has passed me by several times is available again. I've wanted it, contemplated how much better it would be if I had it, and have become bitter every time I was denied it. For what? A few extra bucks and six-day workweeks during the holidays?
Hell no. I can eat bean soup for a few years longer.
The next day I found myself at Indian Spring park sitting on the grass, looking up. After taking communion toward the end of UBC's outdoor service, I sat next to Roy Carney, sound asleep in his stroller, as his parents went up receive communion themselves. In the sky were two small birds flying in random patterns, as if in play. I marveled at how HIGH they were, and then wondered why this surprised me. Birds fly high. Of all the things I should have learned by now, that is definitely one of them.
I'm not sure what significance that little bird story has, other than to let you know that there are things, very holy things, that I stopped noticing far too long ago.
Earlier, after a song was sung and we were sitting down, Keely Browning, nearly-three year old daughter of Blair and Jordan, decided that no, this song is most definitely NOT over. So she kept singing. Later, as we were milling around and with music playing over the speakers down by the river, Keely decided that whatever song was playing needed to be jumped to. So she jumped, and some of us joined in.
Sometimes I think the memory of Kyle is now like a ship finally out of reach. It is still fully visible, yet acceptance has set in that even the strongest swimmer will not be able to reach it. It moves out further by the day. We've all successfully (to varying degrees) reordered our lives without him in them. This has long since become, more or less, ok.
But occasionally we stop, turn around, and face the water. We see the waves lapping against the rocks on the banks of the Brazos and without actually saying it, we know Kyle would be laughing right now. Maybe, in some strange way, this is his laughter-- Taking communion to actively remember, with each other, the only One who truly gives life. Refusing to cease our singing even when the music has stopped, and jumping up and down when the music just simply requires it. Taking naps in the middle of full sunlight and eating lunch around the people who make your heart drive along just a little faster, ignoring the professional and social hoops that so many people think you should be jumping through in order to be "successful."
We stood, facing the water, and recited the words that I think have burrowed themselves deep into our being-- As we approach this week, may we Love God, Embrace Beauty, and Live Life to the Fullest. And who among us didn't believe that we were doing just that in those moments?