Monday, May 2, 2011

Birth, Death, and Bare Feet

The water is cold where my feet sink into the moss in the low spots.  The acorns are sharp.  The rocks are warm, a baby is born, and they tell us the Bogeyman is dead and drifting to the bottom of the sea. 
After Lysander was born I stopped wearing shoes at home.  We moved here in the early Spring, and I began to step gingerly from the door to the clothesline in bare feet.  The end of Summer approached and I could imagine ages past when I could challenge the burning sand, the boiling tarmac, and the rough gravel by the bike rack at the beach.  Then suddenly I found myself in compression stockings and Crocs, pacing the hospital corridors, under strict orders not to go barefoot lest I contract an infection or bleed to death from a cut on my foot.  In the trough of the wave all you see is walls of water.

Yesterday I held a three day old baby girl, daughter of dear friends.  In their exhausted glow I could see the light of that simple truth that comes so clearly in those moments: the things that matter most are within our reach, and the greater our embrace of them, the simpler everything becomes.  As I washed dishes and wondered if I felt a loss with my newborn days behind me, I realized how fortunate I am that life has handed me an extra teaching in renewal. 

When I lay in that hospital bed and invited the cancer to share its gift without destroying the recipient, when I promised my body that this wasn't a war but a rebalancing, all that was extraneous fell away.  As I continue to unwrap this present for years to come, one lesson is already clear.  I can return to my moments of triumph and crisis to find the simple things and to see what holds me back and weighs me down.  Once again, I step gingerly from the door to the clothesline, welcoming the new terrain to fragile flesh. 

A life lived well is a cause for celebration, and at its end it is only our own loss that we regret.  I do not rejoice the rumor of the end of a life lived in darkness; this is a moment for mourning the wayward paths of human potential.  I seek within myself new and more powerful roads to light and peace, that there may be more of both in the world.   

1 comment:

  1. truly lovely, thought inspiring and peace-infusing post Sarah.
    Thank you!