The gift of being late

Sometimes we sit on the floor, lost in the legos, digging for that 2x3 green block that goes just here. Just the two of us.

We can dig for 10 minutes, feeling the hard edges of each piece along our fingers, and the occasional sharp corner pricking a cuticle the wrong way. It is in the patient digging we usually find just what we are looking for. Sometimes it isn't even green.

Maybe a little 1 dot red piece will give a better accent.

Winking, we understand neither of us would have come up with that solution on our own. If we hadn't been patiently looking for something else, letting our minds wander back to the football toss on the playground or that unpleasant pause in today's staff meeting; if we hadn't let go of searching we never would have found that magic pop that completes this work of art.

We need to let go of what we are trying to accomplish sometimes, and dig deep into life.

Sam gets so hurt when I rush him. He doesn't understand these false timelines the world forces him into. He is a child of experience, living and observing richly. His brows furrow in confusion when I tell him I've been searching for him after family dinner one night.

Sam's favorite place to slow down:  backpacking in the wilderness.

Sam's favorite place to slow down:  backpacking in the wilderness.

He told me he was going door to door with the lemonade concoction he made. It came from that tart plastic squeezy bottle that didn't even need chilling, and he refills the growler to the top with water each time it runs low. He made it with love, and so it must be delicious.

He knocks and wishes you a happy afternoon, and wouldn't it just be enhanced with the dollar you spend on this refreshing beverage? Certainly. It will. Your afternoon will be richer, and your life even, because that deep soul with a heart as wide as the Pacific, and eyes the color to match, has come to your door to smile a moment. You will be richer without that dollar, because somehow in his presence your life will slow down too. You will fight it at first, getting up from the work that is so important to finish right this moment, but once he grabs you with a genuine question you will be grateful he brought you back to life.

This child of 11 knows better than most 50 year olds the pace of our hearts. His personal best is to bring you back to the moment of intention, and to remind you that our breath is meant to nurture us into calm.

Lingering all afternoon with a sandcastle on an Oregon beach-- telling stories and watching it wash away.

Lingering all afternoon with a sandcastle on an Oregon beach-- telling stories and watching it wash away.

The panting pace of your life is no richer than his slow chest-filling, heart-growing beauty.

It is God's gift to me. This child who still loves to sit on the floor with me and dig into legos.

His stories go on forever in every detail. I often think the event happened faster than the story summarizing it. It probably did. The way Sam observed it, each detail warrants words and his prayerful attention. In the telling, every lash of his lid is dashing back and forth in excitement at the prospect of the winning catch, or slowly blinking in concern for the friend betrayed after 3rd period when he wasn't there to stick up for him.

Sam's been given only two speeds to move through this world: slow and stop. You can choose to be driven crazy because you'll never be on time anywhere when Sam is with you, but a better option might be to answer his genuine question “Why are you so worried about being late, Mommy? What will happen then?”

What will happen, my son, if we are late, is that I might slow enough to notice the beauty in this world as you do. Time is a human construct, a barrier to the genuine living Sam shows me every single day. And just for today, I want to be late.