Today was about gifts. Ordering a few things the boys want for Christmas and will enjoy was really nice. But then we got into a deep conversation, and my older son mentioned not being a talented enough artist to handle a diverse portfolio, and others being much better than he is.
He is extremely talented. So I reminded him about the kind of practice it takes to really make one’s talent shine, and of how the greatest artists started with sketches and worked for years to refine their vision and skill. And then I sat him down and read him this post I wrote a while back.
This Christmas, maybe we can once and for all turn the “what if-s” into a good thing…give ourselves and each other a really special gift.
Let it be so.
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
Long ago, as a child, I cuddled with a rat not knowing it was a rat or dirty, and walked on paths simply because the wildflowers were so pretty, without fearing I’d come across a den of snakes or worse. I ate sour fruit not thinking of stomach aches (and didn’t have any!), and ran on the beach not expecting to step on shards of glass…once when I did, I simply washed off the blood and kept running.
Long ago, I touched a horse who was not fully tamed, and accepted a hug from a little old lady in the market I didn’t know was very sick, and wrote a story about butterflies because it was the best story in the whole world and I didn’t know to be worried about other people writing better stories.
Long ago, I ate a very large doughnut covered in powdered sugar because I didn’t know it was way too large for a child to eat, and flew on a swing really high up in the air because it made my short skirt puff up and I wanted to be closer to the soft afternoon sun and the birds flying above the park.
So tonight I thought about all the rules I’ve accepted, the habit of limitations I’ve allowed to grow on my soul like a toxic vine, smothering the innocence of spirit…that pure, beautiful wisdom which never fails and is so stunning in its simplicity. All this life experience we gather…yes, useful in some ways, yet what a terrible prison it builds around us.
But must it be this way?
What if…we suddenly forgot our definitions for what is difficult, unthinkable and impossible…the rules we inherited about limitations and those we created ourselves
…and suddenly did not remember the reasons we think we’re not good enough or can’t do something…or the reasons why we can’t forgive or be forgiven
What if…we did not know how to measure and confirm distance, and knew only closeness and love…and we forgot how to silence the soul with all that noise in our minds, all the rumors about why not and what for…
What if…we no longer wandered ashamed or defeated or uncertain…and didn’t see any closed doors, and saw bridges instead of walls and fences…
What if…we knew that we deserved and could create every happiness we imagine…that we are free, and loved, and capable…that we are welcomed…
What if…we did things, or at least something, that really mattered and was really crazy and really fragile, and really amazing…
…and what if we chose to live true to the soul of a child, as if there was nothing impossible about creating a beautiful life for ourselves and together in this world…