When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Friday, September 27, 2013
In quiet little corners
As I was folding laundry in the family room one recent evening, I suddenly noticed Will nimbly climbing over the back of the big lounge chair to stuff himself into the snug little corner between the chair and the place where the two walls meet.
"Aw, Will," I said, with more than a hint of exasperation in my voice. "Please don't go back there again. You're going to knock the pictures off the wall."
"But Mom!" he exclaimed in a pleading and passionate tone. "There's something really great back here!"
Something about his enthusiasm made me relent with a shake of my head and say nothing further as I watched him disappear behind the cushioned chair back. While I continued smoothing wrinkles out of shirts and jeans and placing them in neat piles in front of me, random musical sounds drifted up from the little keyboard Will had taken back there with him and I paid attention with a sudden interest and curiosity. I remembered the many times he had tucked himself into that corner before with a book or a project, or with nothing at all but the intention of hiding on one of us and hopefully scaring us or making us laugh when we walked into the room. Although I had never thought about it before, I now wondered what everything looked like to him from his special spot back there, how it made him feel to be tucked away out of view in that quiet little corner of his own. I suddenly felt the urge to go back there myself to see if I could feel and understand the "something really great" that he had found.
I had a "corner" of my own when I was growing up; it was a narrow spot on my bedroom floor that existed between my bed and my dresser. The distance between the two pieces of furniture was just right so that I could sit comfortably on the carpet with my back pressed against the wooden waterbed frame, knees bent, with the balls of my feet pressed against the dresser. When I think about it I can still experience exactly how it felt to sit in that space; it was snug and familiar and reassuring. I spent hours there over the years, reading, thinking, talking on the phone with friends, agonizing over difficult decisions, crying, laughing, dreaming. I realize now that probably no one else in the world knows what it feels like to sit in that place like I did, and no one ever will.
We all have quiet little corners that are ours alone, don't we? They exist not only in the physical spaces we go to for personal reflection or rejuvenation, but also in the unseen folds of our hearts where we've stored all of our own individual experiences, our greatest joys and our deepest hurts. Our "corners" give us a perspective on life that is astonishing in its uniqueness; each one of us views the world and everything that happens in it from a complexly different angle. These kinds of private spaces are important -- there is comfort and meaning in their familiarity. Watching Will climb over the chair into a world completely unknown to me made me think, though, how life can be so much richer still when we wonder what it really feels like to be in someone else's little corner. There's so much potential for discovering something really great back there.