“If we choose to focus our awareness and energy on those things and people that bring us pleasure and satisfaction, we have a very good chance of being happy in a world full of unhappiness. It is the true wonder of the human condition and the ultimate demonstration of courage that we can bring ourselves, even momentarily, to enjoy life even as we are surrounded by evidence of its brevity and potential for disaster” (Gordon Livingston, M.D., Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, pp 142-43).
The gargantuan snowflakes that romped in Versailles yesterday stopped me in my tracks. Awe-struck, I stood in a parking lot to gaze with the saucer-eyes of my childhood. Crystals of magic cavorting around me, I couldn’t help but giggle and twirl giddily with outstretched, helicopter arms.
For a brief moment in that parking lot yesterday, I was lost in a memory of playing in the snow at our childhood farm. For a brief moment, I was in the Elysian field of my childhood frolicking with snowflakes - not frozen by any fear in the world except the uncertainty about from which direction (and which brother) the next snowball would hurl. My biggest concern was how many tiny marshmallows would be in my hot chocolate Mom gave me when we came inside to warm up by our wood-burning stove.
As I stood in that parking lot, for a brief moment I saw the world again with fawn-eyes of childhood innocence and awe. Amidst those dancing snowflakes, I caught a glimpse of childhood’s endless possibilities, swirling dreams, and waltzing hope that hop scotched with pigtails through time…as it stood still.
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And then. And then, just as suddenly as I was whirling around in my childhood catching snowflakes on my tongue, I blinked my eyes back to the present moment. There I was – an adult, left only with my introspection in a snow globe parking lot. I listened to the distant echoes of my laughter disappear into the walls of snow. The dancing snowflakes’ evidence of brevity melted into my teary, salt eyes.
Stunned and stumbling even, I got into my car, rubbed my eyes, and then viewed the snowflakes again. This time, I saw the pelting snow with my adult, blurred eyes with cataracts of limitations, experience, fear, lost dreams, and reason. This time, the snowflakes - void of whimsy and hope - plummeted as anvils and sighs.
(As I get older and begin to revisit memories of my past, I am discovering how I am the narrator of my past…and my present too. I can choose with which eyes I view a snowflake, a dream, a memory, a child, the world. I can choose to tell our life stories with hope or doom, whimsy or gloom. I can choose to see intricate, brilliant beauty in snowflakes and my children’s wide-eyes that spark awe. Or, I can succumb to seeing the world in drab hues; a harsh tundra of anxiety, falling anvils and lost hope.)
As I drove home keenly aware of the snowflakes zooming kamikaze-like towards my windshield, I chose the eyes and perspective with which I want to view the world.
I pretended to be traveling at hyperspeed in a galaxy far, far away while I used my Jedi mind tricks to defend the force of good in the world…