The Forgotten Path


Why do I get so much joy and satisfaction watching my children play in nature? It is something I have wondered about myself.  One of my favorite activities.  I like to play with them in nature, but honestly, I like sitting back and watching them even more.  I struggle here, to put it into words.

I use the term ‘my children’ loosely as I have taken on 18 other children each week out in the woods.   Watching children in deep play outdoors is something I love.  Why?

Freedom?  I know that when they are unencumbered, outside and unstructured they are free.  Maybe it is the sitting back that is so rewarding.   I move out of their way.  I step back from the telling and the teaching, and create a sacred space for their freedom to step forward.  I love watching where they take it.  There is a deep sense of peace that descends on a creek when children become engrossed in what they and the creek decide to do together.  Two puzzle pieces, the creek and the children, fitting together perfectly and suddenly it all makes sense.  Freedom is definitely an essential ingredient.  Yet…

Wild is the other.

When children set out on their own adventure into wilderness, they are seeking a relationship.  They are looking for connection with each other and me.  But deeper than that, they are seeking connection with the wild.  They know on some soul level that when they find that tadpole and hold it in their hands, it was created in just that way, at just that moment, just for them.  When they are mining for gold in the creek and they find a ‘crystal’, they believe that rock was put there at that moment in time, just for them.   When they sit in their secret hide out, hidden from the rest of us, they are not alone.  They know that this secret spot was created around them, for them.   They don’t seek connection with the man made bridge, as much as, they are drawn to what is flowing and growing and swimming and winding beneath it.  The wild.


Two weeks ago when a pouring rain just happened to find us outside looking for adventure, they embraced it as the gift it was.  How could this not have been created just for them?  The joy as they received this gift however they chose, was something I will never forget. Standing back and watching them dance with the wild was my joy.

They went home high.

The next day I heard reports of “the best day ever”.  One child told his special grownup that it was “the best day of his life”.  Then he changed his mind.  “It is the second best day of my life.  The best day was the day I was born.”

I watch this and I remember.  I remember what I was born knowing and then forgot. I remember my own freedom dancing with the wild.  I seek relationship with What created the wild.  I catch a glimmer of conversation with my Creator.

The Forgotten Path.  Children are born into the world knowing this path.  It is not forgotten for them.  By protecting space for them to play on their own path, I remember.  They are my guides.  They teach me how to recall all that I know.  It is as much for me as for them.





A spiritual journey

Exodus 2013

God seems to like making my Sunday school lessons real and experiential.  I am not complaining, don’t get me wrong.  Just laughing at myself, that I still never expect it.  Why would this Passover be any different from the others?

Our family had an exciting week leading up to Passover.  Richard was supposed to leave Monday night for Atlanta, but after a long night in the airport waiting out tornadoes in the south,  had to cancel his trip and come home.  I had the ominous feeling something was brewing.

It was.  Tuesday I was sick with what seemed like the flu and could not get out of bed.  This snowballed quickly by Wednesday into a fever, to a doctor’s visit, to a chest x-ray, to an emergency cat scan, to the ER, to being admitted to the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia.  Although, thankfully, I never felt as ill as I actually was, it still took quite a toll on us all.

I couldn’t help feeling God’s hand in the timing of having our priorities made clear for us.  I think of Passover as the time to take a good look at what we are enslaved to in our lives and make an attempt to set ourselves free from those things.  Our family had a very hands on education about the things we need to let go of, and the things we have to hold tightly to.  It is still always surprising to me, how many things I get tricked into thinking are important along the way.  Things that really don’t matter when the chips are down.

I think Moshe comes to each one of us in some form at Passover and invites us to follow him out of our slavery into the desert to freedom.  The Midrash reports that many Jews did not follow Moshe and actually chose to stay in Egypt in bondage.  I wonder if sometimes it is so hard to recognize that we are enslaved.  When Moshe comes knocking we just don’t recognize the call for what it is.

Pneumonia is not what I would have considered a way out of slavery.  But it in fact turned out to be just that.

As I came home from the hospital and looked at all the chores to be done to prepare for Passover, I felt a sense of despair come over me.  It was just days away and I could not fathom how we would get from the pile of laundry and housework in front of me to the great Passover Seder we were blessed to have.
Yet, I could not lift a finger.  I was forced to let it go and sit down on the couch with my kids and soak them in.  When I did, a deep sense of peace and thankfulness washed over me.  Thankfulness for all the blessings that are right in front of my face, but I am many times too busy to stop and drink them in.
Richard made the comment that God doesn’t fix IT for you but instead fixes YOU for it.  I needed fixing for Passover.  The stress filled idea I had in my head was overwhelming.  Once I surrendered to my reality something much better took its place.
God also seems to send you the help you need.  I was humbled by the help he sent to our family.  From the tornadoes that kept Richard home, to the Dr. who had a “gut instinct” and followed it, to the families that completely wrapped themselves around our kids during the crisis, to the amazing cooking and pitching in that so many people so unassumingly did.
Now a month later, I am still trying to get back to “pre-pneumonia” status.  It is a slower more frustrating process than I anticipated.  I have not been able to run as many miles, keep up with as much laundry, or even stay up as late as I could before.  But I am still benefiting from the lesson.  Maybe this year will be a year of creating balance.  Stopping to rest more and appreciate the wonderful blessings that are completely undeserved, yet right in front of me.