Last night, Husband and I went to the movies. We saw Whip It, an uplifting and enjoyable film set in a small town in Texas about navigating girlhood via the high-octane world of roller derby. Husband and I arrived at the theater a bit late and we were forced to sit in the second row. For two hours, we craned our necks to absorb the action on the big screen. For two hours, we pretended we were comfortable while shifting in our seats. The truth is that up that close, the movie was almost blurry. I felt like I couldn't see it.
This point here is not to complain. The point is that I realized something and something major: Intimacy can be blinding. When you are too close to something, you almost become part of it. When you are too close to something, you don't have the distance to study the nuances, to absorb the details, to enjoy the scenery.
Want an example? Sure you do.
Life. That is a big example, no? Each and every one of us is absorbed fully in our own lives, intimately threaded to all of its aspects. We are so enmeshed and invested in our lives, that we don't see our lives. Each day is filled with obligations and events and routines. Like good soldiers, we march and do and deliver. But how often, do we stand back and look? Look at the life it is that we are leading. How often do we pause and linger on the images, stunning and unique and real, that together make up the movie that is life?
I did this yesterday. I walked into my kitchen. I looked around. At the trappings of my life. The pockets of clutter. The scattered mail. The garbage waiting to go out. And then I saw the image above. Toddler's tiny green rain boots standing there next to my embellished silver flats. There was something about this image that struck me and I looked for my camera. What was it? Maybe it was the fact that my life is a bit like those flats - practical, battered by reality, a bit sparkly and fun, a bit soiled from the elements. Or that my life is also a bit like those little boots - childlike and rubbery and green with youth. I don't know. Maybe the image is and was arresting for a different reason. One day, Toddler will grow out of those boots. One day, Baby will wear them. One day, we will throw them away or give them away. One day, my girls will wear heels or fancy jeweled flats. One day, my baby girls will be teens and then women. In this frozen image, this lonely and lovely image, the vastness of time is hauntingly clear.
What is clear is that this picture makes me smile. Because it is a single snapshot of what my life has become and is becoming - artful chaos and contrast, a patchwork of beauty and practicality. And full of so many shoes.
Intimacy can be blinding. Being too close to something can cripple our vision and our appreciation of it. Every now and then it is good, better than good perhaps, to take that proverbial step back, to scan the small images of our big lives, and revel in them.
Do you agree that intimacy can be blinding? If you had to describe your life with two pairs of shoes, what would they be? That it an odd question. Wow.