I have this pair of sandals that I LOVE. If one can love a pair of sandals, I do love these. I even remember the day I bought them and the feeling I had leaving the store with them. It was early last summer and I had stopped in at Marshall's in hopes of scoring some good brown sandals. If the temperature is over sixty degrees I want to be wearing flip flops or sandals so I knew they needed to be pretty sturdy sandals for the amount of wear they would potentially get. When I go to Marshall's I always head for the clearance section. It's just my way. So, there I was trying on a sandal or two when I spotted these brown beauties! They were about the cutest sandals I had ever seen for grown women and they were leather and without a heel (two very important factors in my decision to purchase, the fact that they were super cute was a bonus!) As much as I liked the look of the sandals and as happy as I was that they were a quality brand (Born) I wasn't going to break the bank on them. Remember, I head straight to the clearance rack! Well, I am proud to say I spent not a penny more than $30 on those sandals! I commented on how delighted I was to myself, out loud, as I left the store. I nearly had goose bumps I was so giddy about those sandals and what a steal-of-a-deal they were.
To this day I love those sandals. They are the very sandals pictured in this blog post. I love them and they are wearing out, falling apart. The straps are stretched out and the sole is cracked almost in half. I still wear them like this and don't even care when the sole pinches the bottom of my foot from time to time because I like them that much. I know I didn't take care of the leather as well as I could have. I let them get wet walking too close to the shore of either Lake Michigan, Lake Huron or The Gulf of Mexico; not to mention all the rainy days I wore them out in. Oh the good times these sandals and I have had together! And now, it seems our time together is ending... I will do what I can to salvage them, maybe a cobbler could help to give me a couple more years with them somehow. I will definitely look into it.
But sandals are really the least of my worries, friends. Do you remember me telling you about Li Fraumeni? It is a tumor suppressor gene mutation, a mutation that leaves one susceptible to certain types of cancers. It is genetic. I am the first in my family to have this mutation but my children have a 50/50 chance of having inherited the gene... I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been thinking about it to the point that I almost freak out when my kids have ice cream, a piece of cake or a bowl of cereal because sugar feeds cancer and that's what I think about.
My youngest boy started kindergarten last week. I realize I've been so guilty of holding onto his babyhood, his littleness. I don't have any more babies at home, no littles. They are all big boys. If I could turn back time, if I could find a way, I'd go back to when they were all home with me... I want to hold on. I want to freeze time. I want everything to be okay.
The truth is: "this too shall pass". That's what I'm afraid of, the passing.
This has been a struggle for me on many levels lately but it's interesting to notice that I'm not the only one who struggles with the impermanence of life. You may not want to admit it, but you wrestle with it too. Look around you. I believe its part of the "human condition". We want things to stay the same and yet we desire something new (change?). It's strange how even difficult circumstances can become comfortable somehow. We get in our routine, our rhythm and then we want things to stay that way. We are creatures of habit. We like these sandals and don't want to have to try to find a replacement pair. We are thankful our family is healthy today, we don't want to face potential harm tomorrow. But time moves on despite our protests. Night falls and morning rises. Our bodies age despite the anti-aging creams, serums and strength training. Our children grow and go to school, then leave for college and leave us. But we wouldn't have it any other way, either, would we? It's the natural progression of things.
I realize I have become so obsessed with the destination that I've failed to enjoy the journey. I haven't wished away time as I used to as a child, looking forward to every next milestone of youth. But I have focused more on the struggle rather than the beauty of the moment. There is no guarantee that everything will be "okay" later today or tomorrow. Life and death are the only guarantees. I want to live every moment to the fullest, to wear my sandals in the rain and appreciate how fun it is and how good it feels to be in the rain.
Making peace with impermanence isn't an easy thing, and I don't think it's a one-time decision either. I believe we constantly have to remember to let things go, hold it all loosely, trust God with everything, savor every moment, stop obsessing about the destination.
The truth is: this too shall pass.
1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear." Trusting God/Perfect Love with every moment that each of my babies will breathe on this earth; trusting Him with my health, my marriage; trusting Perfect Love in the darkness of night and the full light of day; trusting God when things fall apart as much as I do when everything is okay. It's a decision that I want to make time after time so that one day it will be a reflex. God has never failed me in my life. I say that because I don't allow circumstances to dictate my opinion of God nor to sway my understanding of His faithfulness. It's not about the circumstances. We all know "sh*t happens". But who's there to clean it up? To bring something beautiful out of the mess? Who's there to heal and restore and cleanse? That's God, that's Pure Love.
My sandals may seem like a silly analogy, but it is an illustration of how hard we hold on to most things and not just the big things like people and moments in time. It makes me wonder if part of the holding on to the good things is a lack of trust or the fear/belief that things will never be so good again after that moment?
So in the struggle with impermanence, in the midst of the fear and the letting go, I will love. I will love you and appreciate and enjoy your growth, your aging, your change. And when it hurts, I will allow Perfect Love to comfort me.