A year ago (yesterday) I took my kids to Middleville. Middleville is the small West Michigan town where I grew up. Saturday my son was asking me, “Daddy do you remember that special park you took us to with the big slide? When can we go again?”
Then yesterday I got a Facebook notification and realized it had been exactly one year since I took my kids to play at Spring Park in Middleville. It is a fairly ordinary park. It is a decent size, with some picnic tables, a baseball diamond, a few swings and one really big slide. In itself, its really nothing special. But I think it was my enjoyment, being there with them that made it so special and really stand out in their memory.
When I got my little “1 Year Ago” Facebook memory, I reread what I wrote that day:
You can’t hate a whole town just because you were that nerdy kid in every John Hughes film and kids were mean to you 20-30 years ago. You can’t forever avoid a place just because your mother is buried there. This day here with them at my favorite place to play when I was a child reminds me that memory can be very selective. These are happy tears. Inner peace?! I’m not quite there yet. But I’m coming for it.
The inner peace… It still alludes me. But like a patchwork quilt it is coming into view. One piece at a time.
As I continue on in this Lenten practice of listening to the universe when it speaks and confronting my own personal demons, I am growing. Growth is painful. And unfortunately life doesn’t stop just because you are in an emotional growth spurt. Bills still pile up. There is no emotional growth leave from a job that many days leaves me feeling empty. But, I made it to Lake Michigan last week. The next assignment, to get back to Middleville and spend another carefree afternoon at Spring Park with my kids.