Wednesday, January 4, 2012


 I remember laying in endless afternoons, when days of the week lost all meaning and entire adventures could be played out in my mind. Recalling those days is like watching a dream sequence in a movie;  I see the naivety of my youth and the callousness of my adolescence.  Those days slipped from my sap-stained hands. That loss stays with me.  But during those fleeting days; those cloudless summer days, I would lay back and look up through bright green spires and I'd give myself up.

 I would think about the person I wanted to be.  I would think about the life I might want to lead.  I would think about my family and my place in it.  I would think about the lessons taught to me by my teachers, my parents, my friends.  I would consider with meticulous care all the ways I struggled to fit into the role given to me.  Most often, I would think about the perfect surrender to time and circumstance. Expressing such insight never came to me in quite so many words... but the sentiment was there.

I remember with staggering clarity the first time I stood before a mirror and really thought about what I was looking at. It became a habit of mine; to center myself among the increasingly chaotic world I've relinquished myself to. There is a humbling peace acquainted with considering your existence as objectively as you are able. I stood in front of that mirror and saw the body I inhabit.  I saw possibility and influence and power. I looked at my face, my eyes, my hands and saw all of the things I could do with such a vessel.  I considered the lives I could change, the knowledge I could acquire, the beauty I could create.  I never considered the inherent selfishness and corruption that could stem from such lofty aspirations.

At thirteen my youth pastor told me that I would change many lives within my lifetime.  A crushing humility overtook me and a vehement denial of such a statement eradicated any ambition I may have  adopted.  Slowly, however, the seed of ambition did take hold and with the virility of a weed it flourished deep inside me.  By the time this ambition caught up with my conscious thought, I was an adult standing before a mirror and absorbing all of the changes I could see--the lines tracing the edges of my mouth and my eyes, the hesitancy in my smile, the age in my eyes beyond my years.  I took time to reacquaint myself with this person, and realized I had been pruning and fertilizing the vines of my ambition for so long I hadn't even been aware of how deep the roots had taken hold.

What amazed me was how much time could pass and how much life altered who I was, yet I more or less remained the same. We each have that core to us; the stem from which our personality grows as our experiences shape and prune us.  It is this core that I honor.  With a sense of responsibility I look into the mirror, and know that despite all the mistakes I have made, all the feelings I've hurt, and all the people I've said goodbye to I am able to take hold of  unquestionable ambition and fight for self-fulfillment.

Peace, I have found, comes not from accepting the circumstances of your life, but from accepting the person you know yourself to be when the world stops looking and you listen to the quiet of your heart. As years roll by like the slow shift on those lazy afternoons, I hope to return to the serenity of soaking in every delicate detail of  a perfect moment. Yet this person in the mirror; the adventurous, passionate, curious child looking back at me from the depths of aged eyes... this is the person I dreamed I would be. There is no hesitation as I reach out again; for boundless curiosity and tenacity; for exceeding my own expectations.

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