It’s wonderful how delicious normal can taste after a period of upheaval. I’m happy to say that the last four or five days have been decidedly normal for the first time in many months. Between the move and the passing of Richard, the last couple of months have been flavored with many challenges, but as I am like to say the challenging times in life offer the best opportunity for growth. That being said I am totally ready for a little bit of status quo.
As I look over the experiences of the last few days I am grateful for our many blessings. Christiana and I have had the chance to travel to our beloved Michigan for the first time in two months. We found our tired old cottage no worse for the wear despite some of my potential fears. We had special time with some of our dearest friends which was long overdue. We dug in the dirt cleaning out flower beds and mowed the lawn on a beautiful Spring Day. I had a beer with lunch for the first time in I don’t know how long. We walked on the beach. We flew my kite. We had a bonfire in my backyard. We drank more bottles of wine than we probably should have. We listened to classical music in the cottage while cleaning and relaxing. After a 5 year sabbatical from running I’m back on the path and feeling things out as much as my body will allow. On Saturday morning I laced up and I ran through my favorite cemetery in New Buffalo and about mile three I stopped to see the perfect tree. In the past I would have kept running without pause because I had to push myself to the extreme at all times. It was an endless bounty of normal and savoring and it tasted oh so good.
Even the weekend prior while we still a little less removed from the challenges, we had the chance to see Sound of Music at the Lyric. We had an amazing dinner at our own restaurant with other recently married friends. We had another night out with our guys from my bachelor party that included dinner at Paris club and dancing at Studio Paris followed by karaoke at the Blue Frog until the wee hours of the morning. How do I get so lucky that both the flashy and the mundane are equally desirable in this chapter of my life?
Maybe the opportunity to see things this way has always been there and I can just see it more clearly now? I’m not sure but something is indeed different. Maybe it’s still the Richard effect? While weeding on Saturday afternoon Christiana said, “Hey Jim I think this one might not be a weed. It looks like a Japanese Red Maple seedling.” In years past I would have mowed it over or sprayed the whole walkway with Roundup. On this day though we dug it up from between the rocks and put it in a pot.
My Dad for many years would find seedlings and pot them and try to make more trees. He would douse them in Miracle grow and move them in and out of the house depending on the weather. My Mom’s house in Naperville has a few 30 year old mature trees that my Dad dug up from our the yard in the home I grew up in Michigan. Now Christiana and I have a seedling in a pot on our deck in Chicago. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to put in in the ground someday and continue the tradition? Life’s changes sometimes teach us to stop and smell the roses. In our family I guess life’s lessons teach us to stop and pot the maple. I’m just so grateful I’m learning to slow down and enjoy the process and taste a bit more of life. I’m not sure what will happen with either this little tree or with my life, but I’m certainly very clear that the many mentors I have enjoyed over the years continue to make me who I am now, whether they are still on this planet or not…