Thursday, August 9, 2012
The Joy Thief
It sneaks in under the cloak of admiration. Through eyes made wide with wonder, that insidious ingrate moves in with stealth and purpose. It oozes into all that is good and alive and sets out to make its home in my depths. From here, it can graft itself to my vision and begin to blur what is true. It wants what it doesn't have. It is that simple.
And I hate the way it wants to bring me along for the ride. It is not content to ravage alone and it is fueled by the weakening of resolve. When I sigh or swallow hard, it swells. This power...this principality... is most active when I am most open. When I look around me and desire to embrace the joy and the wonder, it is then that it most betrays.
It's that time of year again. Thoughts turn to books and papers and rainbow colors and core knowledge and living ideas and Triviums and new math and, one day into it, I am left spinning. I become like a spectator at a tennis match, watching the exchange, from one side to the next, one serve answered by a volley here and then a focused swing there and suddenly the points are adding up faster than I can count.
And I look at these lovelies on either side of my heart and its as if I've lost the rule book and I'm competing against an opponent who doesn't even seem to know that I'm in the game. I want to grab my littles by the hand and run into the quiet of the woods where there is no ceiling and there is a presence that muffles the chattering voices that run amuck in my head. I realize that the noise has moved in and I need to make room for the hushing.
For when there is quiet, there is more room for truth to bloom.
Sometimes it is so hard to extricate the things I would like to be from the things that I can never be and the Thief's goal is to forever blur the line. But the quiet, that beautifully orchestrated nothing, it is a clarifier. And when I wrap myself in its silence, slowly, another voice emerges.
That voice sings the song of my heart, not that of another. That voice weaves a tapestry from my own homespun yarn, not that of another. And that voice doesn't care whether there is anyone else in the room. This is the voice that I must memorize, that I must let burn tunnels in my ears, that I must let fashion and mold me.
When I drink in the quiet, when I fashion margin on the edges of my person, I am protected from thieving hands. And protection is what I need because my heart, it is a delicate thing, you see. I want good things for my boys, yes, but I also want clear vision. Because that Thief, well he takes innocence and wonder and the slow glow of a life well lived and he mutates it. He will bastardize my legitimate hopes if given any space to live and move and have His being.
So I am spreading wide my cloak...to the fullest breadth of my reach...so that my boys and I, well we'll be protected from behind. Like a line in the sand, I will stand my ground and I will not be moved. And I know. I cannot, will not, shade them from it all. Because, to do so would be to cut them off from all that lies in front of them. There is beauty and joy and hope in that view. There is scariness and disappointment and pain, in that view, too. But, together, we can confront those things full on, with our capes flapping wildly behind us as the wind ruffles our hair.