Wheels set in motion. Gears turning. In the midst of transition, whether beginning, middle, or end, it can be difficult to discern whether one is on the up-side or down.
Life is so good. I am so blessed, and I was especially reminded of this last night.
A dear friend cannot resist the pull to this sacred holiday. Tradition and genetics pull strongly and, in this case, to our advantage. A festive home, wonderful and generous people, and nearly a dozen giddy children a great Halloween party make!
I realized after the third house that the older children weren’t going to listen to me, so I kept close watch on the youngest, my flower peddler turned living dead. (She had to paint her face!) It really was fascinating, watching the kids run, propelled by excitement and anticipation. I don’t recall one of them mentioning the darkness or a fear thereof. They were safe on this night to wander the streets . . . at least in their minds, I suppose.
Inevitably, my five-year-old’s legs grew tired, her bag (a.k.a. pillowcase) heavy. She was ready to go back to the house, even as the rest of the gang rushed to the next porch light. “Are you sure?” I asked. “Uh-huh.” I didn’t question much more, knowing a warm house, delicious food, and a patient daddy awaited.
Walking back, her warm little hand in mind, I remembered what she had said earlier, running ahead of me. “This is my favorite part!” Pure joy glowed in those words, and her little boots swiftly ran through the darkness. At a slower pace now, we retraced our steps, and she talked with me.
Being away from home in these tender ages, I miss this most: being ever-present to the wisdom of the child.
She spoke of much in her oh-so-mature manner, and at one point she said, “Mom, do you really think God is in everything?” I heard her doubt. I heard questioning. I either felt or heard a sadness. In a body so small came this enormous question, and I lacked the theological knowledge to answer it accurately. So I did the best I could and answered from my heart. I didn’t want to appear dismissive, and it’s not a simple question. She was serious, so I must be. One of her dear friends doesn’t think God is in everything, she told me, and therein I discovered the stimulus for the conversation. “That’s okay,” I told her. So long as we love one another, we are doing the best we can.
We walked in silence a bit and gave our flashlight to another family that was walking without a light of any kind. They seemed disbelieving for a moment after I offered it to them, but I assured them we were almost home, and it really was very dark in places. They took it gratefully. My daughter asked if I thought they would give it back. I told her they didn’t need to.
Almost to the house, she said, “I love the up and down parts,” referring to the slope from the sidewalk to the driveways and back to the sidewalk. “Up and downs, huh?” I smiled. Such is life.
“What’s making that orange light?” she asked. “The lights on the house, honey.” “No, over there. On the cars.” “Someone locking their car.” “Are you sure?” Such search for certainty. “Yes,” I assured her confidently, seeing the car lights and the owner. So often we lack concrete affirmation, proof for our statements or beliefs.
Teachable moments, all of them, but I don’t know who is the student and who is the teacher. I am still learning.