Sunday, January 13, 2008

at the edge

I am standing at the edge of a tall precipice looking down at the green valley below. I see cars and people, houses and homes, meadows and springs, a lush valley. I smell the sweet air. I see the freedom the valley holds, the happiness and peace and a world of possibilities. I turn to look behind me and see the path I've stepped away from. I've walked that path for so long, my feet are tired and bruised. I long for the relief of that valley, but the path holds a magic spell over me. Draws me back with the memories of it's flat places and cool shade trees. Yes, that path was not always so rocky. Once it too was full of promise and hope. How quickly I realized the path was much steeper than I first thought. I didn't look far enough ahead to see the thorns that had grown up along the way. The thorns had cut and torn at my flesh leaving me bleeding and open. But on I would plod. Sure the path would lead me back to where I started from-the place that was once so full of hope. Sure my legs would not always feel so raw and I would at last find rest. Yes, sometimes the rocks did turn smooth, the thorns were cut back in places. I found places of joy along the way. My children were born there. On that rough path I had a history.

I look again to the green valley below, no longer naive, and aware now that the valley though full of promise surely had it's rough places too. But oh, the freedom down below. New hopes. New promises. Springs and sunny breezes. I'm aware now of my wings. I feel them flutter behind me, reminding me I was made to fly. They remind of the promise of a new day, a way of escape from the thorns. My heart is pounding. I long for the freedom of that valley, but as I look down I see my heart standing on either side of me, both pieces so small and much weaker than I. Yes, I'm sure my wings will carry me but their wings are too small, too frail. Theirs will never carry them all the way to the bottom of that steep cliff. Are my wings strong enough to hold us all? Can I make it without smashing into the walls of that steep cliff? Tears slide down my cheeks as I think about the freedom at the end of the flight. Perhaps I can make it. Maybe I can.

But the path I'm sure of. I've walked it before, carrying them on my back. I've grown used to the thorns, used to the terrible stings of each of their cuts. My arms are strong, my shoulders broad, I know I can carry them a bit further. I know someday they will have to walk, and feel the cuts on their own tender legs, but the promise lays within their wings. Maybe they will grow strong enough on my back to fly away to that valley down below. They can feel the warm breeze guiding them to the lush green and bubbling streams.

I have a choice. Do I return to the path I know? The path I've grown used to? Or do I spread my wings, take a chance on their strength? Will I jump, or turn silently back around?