Don't get me wrong, I have plenty that I could do. In fact, I counted 32 things scrawled on my little notebook that MUST be done in the next 24 hours. There is no shortage of things to do, especially now in the week approaching Christmas. I find myself invigorated by the excitement of the holiday very reminiscent of the feelings I had as a child. The buzz is palpable. As I unpack the boxes of decorations, gently freeing pieces of porcelain and thinly blown glass from the tissue paper that has held them captive for 12 months, it is like I am reacquainted with old friends and memories. Christmas seems to be where the past and the future overlap for me this year: memories, expectations from this year as well as years further in the past coming to meet the anticipation and expansiveness of a new year. Perhaps that is why Christmas can be such a beautifully volatile and energetic time; perhaps that is why it can also be an intensely peaceful time.
Amongst my favorite readings is Shel Silverstein's book "Where the Sidewalk Ends". It is a collection of poems created by a master who eloquently weaves the darkness into the light, the madness into the joy and the excitement into the fear. Just upon reading the title, I am aware of an illogical concern... 'What? I didn't know the sidewalk was going to end! Where will I walk? What if I get hit by a car? What the hell am I going to do now?" I think what I love about Shel's book title is that he invites us to move beyond the question into the exploration of what is beyond the last paving stone of our familiar and stable sidewalks. For me, is as if someone is saying "It is OK, there is something wonderful just past the concrete, take my hand and I will show you".
So it would seem to me that the sidewalk is ending as we approach the final days of this calendar year. Though I have some ideas as to what I would like to see beyond the parallel forms of carefully laid curbs, I don't really have a clue as to what really awaits me. Perhaps the ground is softer and will sink with my weight, or maybe the grass is unruly and grows with disdain. I think the wind will shift slightly and the light will be different. I expect there will be parts that I will not like one bit, but I am almost certain that other parts out past the sidewalk will light my heart up like a firecracker!
I wonder what you see beyond the sidewalk? I wonder if you might be willing to look past the illogical fear and explore with me and tell me what you see, what you smell, what you can feel beneath your feet.
Maybe these are the stories that will be shared amongst our children as they read to their children. Perhaps our willingness to step beyond our own sidewalks, even though we have no idea what the hell we are going to do next, will pave the way for generations to come.