Sunday, January 12, 2014

Frozen. (Not the Disney Movie)

Winter afternoon. from Jessi on Vimeo.

A lot of times I find myself wishing I could freeze time. Not every waking minute obviously. Just the moments that get you in your gut and bring you to your knees in gratitude. The ones where you lift your gaze at a dinner table and realize you wouldn't want to be with anyone else in the world. The one where a child giggles from their belly and can't stop. The moments of great conversation over a not so great cup of pancake diner coffee. It's the moment you pull into your driveway and know you are about to walk through front door into a place of unconditional love. And it's all wonderful. So wonderful in fact,that we want to slow it down. Or better yet, freeze it entirely. We think to ourselves that maybe,if we can stop the movement, we could stop the moment and stay in it forever.

Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Living in a world of eternal family dinners and laughing babies. But after this past winter's stint...I'm not so sure.

This week was a rough one for the midwest. Anyone within a 5 state radius from Illinois knows the kind of "rough" I am speaking of. The one where negative temperatures and wind chills closed schools, killed car engines, broke water heaters, and burst pipes.

The Monday morning when temps were at their lowest, I opened the porch door to let the dog out and was amazed at the new level of freezing that we were experiencing and what negative 30 does to an environment.

Each step I took made the wood porch sound as though it had cracked in two. The air was sharp and when I exhaled, the moisture from my breath seemed to break and shatter into millions of pieces at my feet. Even standing there for only a few minutes lent itself to aching lungs. And the things that used to sway and move freely in our back yard were petrified and stiff. The branches, the wheat grass, each just motionless shells of what they used to be.

As the long week went by, I began to think more on this idea of all things frozen...

In our home, the coffee is made and a candle is lit. The dishes are done and the bread timer dings. Wool slippers my grandma made me, make scooting noises on the wood floor. My dog sits at my husbands feet and begs to lick the bowl from our dinner of homemade beef stew. A friend texts me to tell me she has prayed for me. Everything is warm and beautiful. And every thing is fleeting.

And today it hit me. That is why I love them. Because every beautiful moment in my life that I can recall, was not stoic or frozen. They were soft and lovely and uncatchable. The air was never sharp and never cracked when I moved. The unfrozen moments always let me sit, let me breathe...let me laugh.

It's a strange enigma to think that the fact that we are completely powerless to freeze time is the very reason that we are able to experience the glowing beauty that it brings. That if we really were able to do as we so often wish and freeze what we love, that it would be tragically counter productive. That instead, there would be a lot more dead, broken, and bursting things. There would be lot more pain in our lungs and a lot of unmoving shells that used to be souls.

I am sure this is not the last I will ever yearn to keep something still forever. I know myself better than that. For example, at this stage in life I'm not a parent, and I'm sure that comes with a built in backpack of frozen wishes all it's own.

But I do hope I remember what I've learned this season in 2014. So that as things in our life come and go I'll see them for what they are. A precious gift, meant to be opened and then let go of, carried off with the wind.
Also because if I have to go through another winter like this one to be re-taught this truth, I"m not our closets have enough storage space for any more pairs of fleece lined leggings.