This weekend my pal, Satish, invited me to watch him play in a soccer tournament, so I spent the better part of the afternoon cheering him on at Pacesetter Park. I love watching him effortlessly change from defense to offense, all the while being aware of his other teammates. He missed a few goals, but finally sunk one deep into the net during the second half...and the look on his face was priceless. I'll be back tomorrow to root for Satish and his team as they make their way to the semi-finals, all the while marveling at how much he has changed in the past year and a half. No longer the darling and precocious four-year-old I met while teaching at his preschool, he's grown into an uncommonly wise fourth grader who's heading toward his preteen years with strength and stamina and a stellar killer pass.
Still, it's a bittersweet thing to watch Satish change and grow. While I sometimes long for the days when we would go Putt-Putting after school or play endless games of Chess and The Game of Life, I know that different adventures will soon take their place. I'll get to go to Satish's Science Fair and watch him perform in class plays. Eventually I'll help celebrate his high school graduation, then college, and then whatever comes next. Every step of the way, I'll be on the sidelines cheering him on, marveling at the young man he'll be slowly morphing into as time moves us ever-forward.
And through it all, I'm certain that the years will go by all too quickly.
It's been an uncommon week of respite for me, and ever since I put myself in an unofficial "time out" from writing, I've been a little under the weather. So it's been nice this weekend to simply sit outside and enjoy a little sunshine in-between yoga classes and naps on the back porch. I've had time to meditate and contemplate and ruminate on where I've been and where I'm going.
I'm getting used to having the space to decompress from a project that took a lot of perseverance and dedication...and enjoy the dawning of what I hope will be a fruitful summer season. Still, all of this time has given me the opportunity to look at what's been happening in my life since I started writing THE LACE MAKERS last year, and it seems that I've got a little pruning to do before new growth can take place.
Some very familiar patterns are resurging almost as quickly as the weeds are sprouting in my garden beds, issues that cross the board from personal relationships to business challenges to neighborhood ordeals. It's all the same old story and I'm totally familiar with the plotline. The problem is that I'm totally tired of the dynamics, too.
So this time around, I'm telling myself, "Been there...done with that."
Time goes by all too quickly and I'd rather encourage myself to grow and change than to stay stuck in old behaviors or involved with people or situations that remind me of defeating patterns of my past. I may not be headed for another high school graduation, but in some ways, I feel as though the first half of this year has given me a graduate's degree in human relationships. And through it all, very wise words from Maya Angelou keep echoing in my ears..."When people show you who they are, believe them the first time."
It's a tough lesson to learn because I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want to trust too soon. I give my word and believe others will follow through with theirs. But that's not always the way life works out. I recently told a friend, "I've put a new spin on The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but don't expect them to do unto you as you've done unto them."
I've had my butt kicked enough in the past year and a half to know that rejection is often revealed as divine protection, and that cycles which keep repeating themselves always invite me to take the needle off the skipping record and play a brand new song, even if I don't yet know the words by heart. I'm trying...although it's been a long and very difficult journey.
But I think of Satish and the way he's an incredible team player on the soccer field...and in life in general. He takes things in stride. He doesn't hold a grudge. He lives and learns and moves forward with a grace and ease that continue to amaze me. Satish can look back with nostalgia, but he also looks toward the future with hopeful anticipation. He's my greatest teacher as I make my way out of the often-painful places of this past spring and venture into the tender new beginnings of summer.
I know there will be more metaphoric weeds to pull. More experiences to sift and sort and finally put to rest. But I also know there's a host of wonderful people who are standing on the sidelines cheering me on, no matter how many times I stumble and fall. No matter how many times I miss the goal. No matter what happens next in this game of life.
That in and of itself is a wonderful awareness and one that I'm only just beginning to fully appreciate as I walk forward unencumbered by what has been and embrace what will only get better.