There was a cartoon while I was growing up called "The Roadrunner." He was this speedy little bird of a creature who was always outsmarting the coyote who was trying to eat him. Most often, he would set it up so that something, often a train, would flatten Wile E. Coyote into a pancake. But because it was a cartoon, the coyote could peel himself off the pavement and regenerate.
I was that coyote today, peeling myself off the pavement.
It actually began earlier in the week, when I realized that last year at this time, we were getting ready to leave for what would end up being our last vacation together. We rented a house in Florida for more than a week. I'd like to say that it was the perfect last vacation, but we both came home saying that we wouldn't choose that option again, for many reasons. One always thinks there will be a next time.
A few weeks ago, Atticus decided that my jewelry box didn't deserve to live. Jewelry box makes me laugh....I have no real jewels, but it did create a huge entanglement of necklaces etc. to sort through. So last night I sat at the kitchen counter to sort through it all. I came across a set of prayer beads that were the very first thing G ever gave me. He spent the month before his ordination thirty years ago in Pecos, New Mexico, learning the ways of the early desert fathers, and acquired these beads. He taught me how to say a mantra-like prayer with them, that has served me well over the years. The cross on the beads has a worn spot where his big thumb had worn down the wood in the years before he gave them to me. I clutched these beads during his funeral, but I hadn't seen them since.
Boom. Roadrunner. Peel myself from the pavement.
Today is Ash Wednesday in the Christian tradition. All my life I have heard these words on this day:
"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Those words kicked the shit out of me this year. Like Wile, I didn't see it coming. The time between dust and returning to dust is often too damn short. Words became truth.
There is a beautiful, sealed handcrafted box in a special place in my home with that "dust" awaiting a permanent resting place, probably this summer.
My job is all about the kids. It isn't about me or my life. But for the first time ever, they intersected a bit. I was having a tough time first thing this morning. And they were wonderful.
Big breaths and a hefty dose of professionalism got me through. I came up off the pavement and ended up having a really good day.
Nice try Roadrunner.
You can't flatten me on this journey. I'm looking forward with anticipation.