We have lost touch with joy. There is so little spontaneity in life any more, I realized, as I waved goodbye to my daughter, who was heading off to school in the middle of a snowstorm, as though it was any other day! I live in the frigid north, here in Canada. When I was growing up, one of the benefits of this was that we experienced the occasional break from school during the winter months. I remember going off to sleep, with the hopes that the promised storm would hit in the night and I would awake to what almost felt to me, to be as good as Christmas, an unexpected day off from routine! So this morning I had awoken with the hopes that everyone could enjoy an unexpected sleep in, however judging from the sounds coming form my daughter’s room, such was not to be the case. Reluctantly I pulled myself out from under the warm enclosure of my bed and headed downstairs.
Immediately I turned on the radio, wanting to catch the news of any school closures and began the duties of preparing lunches and breakfast. Soon the reports of closures, though not in our area, started to flow over the radio waves. Finally I could wait no longer, having checked the snow covered roads outside our house often often and called the school. I had visions of “myself” freezing down at the end of our street and was still trying to manipulate the outcome to protect a daughter, who was not even asking. In fact, she seemed quite happy. With no answer at the school, I tried one more time to interfere with the choice that my daughter was making and asked if she did not want to stay at home. “No thanks”, she replied and out the door she flew. It was dark, cold and blowing with snow.
I waved goodbye and closed the door, slowly turning to walk into the family room and watch the morning lighten. It was within a few minutes that I saw the lights of the school bus slow down and stop to pick up it’s precious cargo. I laughed to myself, realizing yet again that she is not me and has absolutely no need of rescue. How many times in the past had I tried to disable her somehow by burdening her with my own feelings? Lucky for her, that being the third, my ability to be broken down into a receptive state had already been well established to do her too much harm! Still I wondered at the absurdity of rushing about as though everything is still normal in the middle of a winter storm. What constitutes a snow day these days? When do we allow those moments of pause, the unexpected break from routine, to occur? Are we so afraid that there may be so many days that are worse than this one in front of us that we cannot afford to take care of today’s reality?
We seem to have lost our balance somehow. We are so determined to move forward at all costs that we seem to be prepared to pay almost any price. Look around anywhere and you can see evidence of this state showing up in so many different ways. Maybe the insanity stops when we decide that it is enough; that we are enough. Maybe it starts when we soften just enough to start asking questions, first of ourselves and then of others. Maybe it starts when we expect life to again hold space for some joy and spontaneity! How about the notion of allowing winter to occasionally feel good again, just like when we were kids.