I am reading Annie Dillard's An American Childhood and I can't believe how awake she is. She wakes me up inside, even as I drift off to sleep to her words at night. I know now why real writers love her, for she models for us how to see the lives we are living. I want to practice this kind of seeing, for to be awake to my life is the truest living there is.
I want to see how the water gets so hot in the shower and I wipe off the glass so I can read and practice my Bible verses off the wall behind the toilet. Why do I love these moments so?
I want to see Story's left hand fingers using the tape dispenser with mastery, helping me wrap presents and writing on the labels and stacking the gifts under the Christmas tree.
I want to see the baby who won't nap and let her be, with her furry pink bear boots. I want to see her chew her blanket and eat her pistachios and ask to sit in Dad's chair at the table again and again. Yesterday, today, and forever, please.
I want to see how the younger three and I walk across the Walmart parking lot, hand in hand, on a Saturday morning, in a drizzle of rain, to buy a Christmas gift for big brother.
I want to see the beds that TJ and Bauer are building. I want to see the places where my boys will sleep the sleep of youth and dream safe and uncertain and big dreams till they grow up.
I want to see the lentils I pick through this afternoon in preparation for tonight's dinner. Is it pebbles I'm supposed to be looking for? I want to see and smell the dry quinoa and chop the carrots and red peppers with my biggest kitchen knife, the one that is so solid and so sharp I could use it as a weapon if I had to.
I want to see the chilly wetness outside, the wet picnic tables, the wet playhouse, the wet grapevine, the wet driveway, and the wet rest, knowing that dry and hot will come soon enough.
I want to see the boys driving in from the movie, telling me about Star Wars and things I'll never understand, no matter how hard I try. I want to hear their happy voices as I start making dinner and waiting for the dark to come and anticipating our dinner conversation that will end with a read-aloud chosen from the Advent bin of books. How many more years of this will we have?
I want to see so many things that are right in front of me. I want to live this life and not miss it and not wish for something else. In fact, I've been thinking lately that I could happily stay frozen in time, at this stage, at this age, with these kids, in this house, in the struggles and the blessings, in the bondage some days and the hope for walking in freedom on others, in the great joy of knowing Jesus and the privilege of walking around with eyes wide open and so much to see.
Oh what a wonderful life!