notes from the backyard

This morning my mind was full of un-named thoughts and musings, and all I could distinguish was this feeling I sometimes get of something that's wanting to be said. I just wasn't sure what it was. It occured to me that maybe it was a thought I hadn't yet had, or hadn't finished. I felt like if I would watch Amelia, she might give me the answer, bring me some clarity or clue. So I pressed into her company, and we took coffee and strawberries to the backyard and I sat, watching and listening as she played.

First you should know that she was wearing two different shoes. She wanted her white "flops" but could only find one. I suggested she wear the brown sandals instead (the whole pair was in our possession), but she insisted the solution was using the one brown for her bare foot. She found a rock that reminded her of an egg, so she carried it over and pretended to break it into my bowl, then on every surface she could find.

I tried to take in the way she moves, to pinpoint the inexplicable beauty that surrounds her movements. While she is much steadier on her feet than last summer, there is still something in the way she runs that is a unique rhythm. One leg reaches farther than the next, instead of every step flowing in a uniform stream. This creates a sense of lurching, often accompanied by stumbling when a foot finds an unseen hole in the terrain. She runs as if she's forgotten herself, as one who has never learned to be pre-occupied or self-conscious. And it takes my breath away.

Then I started thinking about how we spend our whole lives trying to iron out the lurches and prevent the stumbles, especially when someone is looking. An olympic runner will perfect the flow, and the world looks at the way she moves and calls it grace. But Amelia hasn't learned to self-correct, and I was overcome by the grace of her freedom. And I thought about how it's a clue for me, a clue about why Jesus called us to have faith like a child. The grace God wants to give us is this remembrance, this resurrection of the freedom that we all once knew and lived in and ran in. But we often settle for the faith of an adult, the religiosity that comes when we think the grace expected of us is the grace of the flawless olympian. So we strive to perfect, getting further from that mysterious sense of abandon with every step. Then I got lost in wondering what it would be like if I could move through life with the same grace that my daughter moves through grass, in hoping for my freedom to be resurrected.