It was winter, and winter in Minnesota means snow. For recess we donned our snow pants, extra socks, hats, mittens, coats, and moon boots. Yup, moon boots.
I wore purple head to toe, including the "bonnet" that I had which although was quite embarrassing from a fashion standpoint, served me well during our recess "Little House on the Prairie" sessions.
This day, I had no interest in being outside. My best friend wasn't at school and all I really wanted to do was to stay inside and read. I guess they thought being outside was important or something.
She pointed out at the field that we used all fall and spring for kickball, softball, dodge ball - all the things I detested. I preferred using it after a rain to make roads and dams and lakes into the softened dirt as water pooled. She showed us how the middle of that field, now a foot deep with snow, was now slush. That gray part meant that we were not allowed to play in the field. She didn't want us getting wet.
Everyone went to the playground equipment. My imagination was in full swing. I stood on the outside of that field and imagined all sorts of things. I walked and I wandered. I wandered and I pondered. And soon I found myself at the back of that field. I had inadvertently walked part way through. I looked ahead and to my side. I saw that the portion that I was in was not gray and slushy; it was white so it shouldn't be a problem.
I was just a few more steps in when I realized I was stuck. While the snow didn't show to be slush, underneath it was. Between the slush and the muddy earth below it, my moon boots were stuck. I tried to turn around but my boot stayed in the muddied ground and my foot fell right into the cold wet snow. I didn't have momentum to turn around. I stuck that cold, wet foot back in my boot and did the only thing I could do. Go forward.
I finally made it to the other end of the field. Exhausted. Cold. Wet. Defeated. Deflated. And there she was. Waiting for me.
I wasn't one to ever get in trouble, but the look on her face was the same one reserved for Jeff who was scolded on a daily basis, so I knew it was bad. I tried to explain what happened How it was an accident. It was inadvertent. I tried to turn around and couldn't.
She didn't hear any of it. She made me wait in the parking lot next to her, wet foot and all, until the other kids were done playing. And then she took away the one thing that could punish me. Books. No more books that week.
I stood there. Toes frozen. Cheeks burning hot with embarrassment Eyes stinging as tears leaked out in the cold Minnesotan air.
If you were to ask me to sum up the past few years in one word, it might be STUCK. Despite our intentions, our motivations, and what we thought we heard from God, we have found ourselves inextricably stuck.
Every day, despite the good and beautiful things each 24 hours holds, has felt like a battle. It has felt like we are walking through that field, unable to turn back, going forward through and to consequences that feel undeserved. The sky is gray. Our bodies cold and tired. And there is just no end in sight.
Here, in the muck, I don't see the beauty. I don't see the good. There isn't a lot of fun or laughing. It's just hard work. I lack perspective.
This year, I want to rise above it all. I want to radically change how I view life. How I live life. I want to soar.
Throughout the year, I'll write about all that soar means to me. It is a change of perspective. It's an act of faith and risk. It is accomplishing the things I hold close in my heart. It's allowing myself to dream. It's big and scary and brave. It's looking up and allowing the sun to shine on me and the wind to blow on me.
Today, I stand barefoot at the edge of a cliff. The sun is shining warm on my skin. I feel the warm rock on my calloused feet, warming my whole body. I inch out to the edge as my toes wrap around the ledge. I don't look down. I don't look behind. I lift my head up. I open my eyes. I raise my arms out at my sides. The wind blows on me, whispering to let go. To trust.
I'm ready to soar.