Reach, 2013, 21" x 29", watercolor, pastel, charcoal

Reach, 2013, 21″ x 29″, watercolor, pastel, charcoal

“You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at this, one chance to find out the one thing that you don’t want to miss.” One Life to Love by 33 Miles

This song lyric often plays in my mind. Life on this earth tumbles by and falls off the final cliff with such finality. We scramble through each day, hoping (if we even stop long enough to reflect) that it adds up to something.

A year ago, I thought a lot about what I don’t want to miss. Maybe it’s being in my early 40’s, maybe losing my Dad, maybe having our oldest start high school (how did that happen!). Suddenly, I couldn’t bear the thought of just skimming through life anymore, just surviving.

Life screeched to a most unexpected halt when my Dad died in fall 2011. I immersed myself in honoring him through his memorial service and in floundering arm-in-arm with my family on this new trail of sorrow and celebration. In the silence, in the unplanned moments with those I love, my soul cried out to continue in this deeper presence to each minute.

I listened. I made some huge changes, slashing away to the very core of what matters now. My soul is coming to life again.

Recently five Briggs perched on the bleachers together watching my oldest son, Jacob, play baseball, a rare occurrence these days for all six of us to be in the same location. Early March, yet the evening breeze left us warm enough for sweatshirts. We chattered with each other and friends at the game, just an easy camaraderie. And I was awash with a techni-color gratitude that I hadn’t felt for a long time.

After the game, I waited for Jacob to do field maintenance with the rest of the team. Even raking the baseball field, the kid glows. Anything at all to do with the game brings him joy. He’s a lot like his Grandpa, my Dad, who always loved baseball. My heart flooded with delight in my son, in what makes him happy. I sat on a track-and-field high-jump mat behind the diamond, watching night stealthily shadow the mountains, listening to the hubbub of traffic on Platte, feeling evening chill sink into my bones. I felt truly alive, truly grateful. I felt the Presence of God.

I’m starting to wonder if maybe the secret of reaching – for God, for meaning, for what truly matters – is actually slowing down. Slowing down long enough to discover that all along, He’s been reaching for us.

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