I don’t want to forget the way the sun was shining through the two-story windows at the pool on a Sunday evening at 5:30. The way the ripples in the pool were dancing in the light of an autumn sunset. The way that she stood, feet planted on the pool bottom, the tassels of her swimsuit floating on the surface of the water, slowly moving against her chubby legs, looking the way that a healthy 16 month old girl should. I don’t want to forget the water drops that were suspended on her eyelashes. The shrieks of laughter that came out of her and echoed across the tile walls of the room.
I don’t want to forget the way that Sophie held on to me, whispering in my ear that she was loving every moment of this mommy time, and no, even though she was tired, she didn’t want to sit in a chair; she would just stay in my arms. The way that her legs and arms wrapped around me - my own baby koala bear - that needs to be etched into my memory for those nights in the not too distant future when the kids don’t come crawling into bed anymore and mommy might not be the most exciting person in their universe (next to daddy).
I don’t want to forget her fearlessness. Her determination. The way she thinks she can teach herself to swim. How she does it over and over again, moving her body in ways that become more natural each time as long as she can until her lungs nearly burst and she forces herself out of the water, only to do it again and again. She gets that twinkle in her eye, the one she gets from Daddy, and puts her arms behind her, grabbing her ankles with her hands and taking a breath right before floating in a giant "O" on her stomach. She can hold it longer than this non-swimming momma thinks she should, but I can’t let my fear betray me and instead smile and clap, all while still holding Sophie tight against me.
I don’t want to forget how amazing he is with our girls. That perfect mixture of push and pull that encourages them to do their best all while being their safe place to fall. And I can’t forget the way my heart nearly beats out of my chest when I watch him swim under water for what seems to be the length of the pool.
Last week I did that big, scary thing for me. And I’m so glad I did it. A couple days away from it and instead of reflecting on the things that touched me deeply, challenged me, encouraged me, I find myself somewhat sullen, wishing I had been more outgoing and more engaging. I wish that I listened more. I wish I had been bold and confident. But later might be a better time to reflect on my social interactions. Instead, this is what I don’t want to forget….
I don’t want to forget Bob Goff who challenged me to shift everything, giving myself more margin so I could spend time giving out extravagant love. I don’t want to forget how he circled his number in the back of the book he signed, telling us to call him when we “quit stuff,” and that although he told us all that, for some reason, in that moment, it felt like a holy mandate that both encouraged me and scared the crap out of me.
I don’t want to forget Erwin McManus calling me to the beautiful. “Hold onto the thin thread – that’s Jesus.” It’s as if he walked off the stage and stared at me, reminding me that somewhere along the way, I forgot hope. How did I forget hope?
I don’t want to forget how giddy I was just listening to Rachel Held Evans speak. And even though I was too scared to say hello to her at dinner, knowing that there are women like her, brave, and bold and honest gives me so much hope for my girls and how the opportunities that they hopefully won’t have to fight for.
I don’t want to forget that Thursday night dinner. How I was in a room filled with such amazing people, and amazing creativity. I hope someday I’ll forget how small I felt at the time, as my own insecurity pushed to the surface, and instead focus on the audacious amount of grace and graciousness I encountered. Thank you, friends.
I don’t want to forget that even though my 17 ½ inch by 17 ½ inch desk is the three little girls that run around all day, I still can find time to write, and be joyful. Thank you, Makoto Fujimura, for that.
I don’t want to forget the 111 Project and the ugly cry and the tweets from friends who also feel a stirring, also crying, right alongside me.
And I don’t want to forget the way that I felt as I drove home Friday evening, as the clouds darkened across the lake and hinted of the rain about to fall. The way that I felt a knitting, a weaving, of all the things I heard….from speakers and friends alike. The way that All Sons and Daughters played through the speakers in the van. All the hearts who are content, and all who feel unworthy. And all who hurt with nothing left, will know that you are holy. The way my voice sang louder and louder. The way that complete peace moved alongside seamlessly with excitement and desire. The way I felt my life could be lived out as a Hallelujah. And there, in that place, my heart felt like bursting for all the good and holy and beautiful. And the shadow that has followed me has been blown away as so much good rushed right by me. Redemption, Beauty, Brokenness and Hope all to occupy one space together. I don’t want to forget.