I laid in the bed clutching him, breathing him in. The morning would bring another separation. This time, I was leaving.
Didn't I just move through the house without him for two weeks? While he was on a boat in the Sea of Galilee, hiking to a waterfall, walking through ruins I was balancing the checkbook, meeting the neighbor, consoling a confused brown belt, reserving lodging for the trip, pulling trash to the curb, grilling sandwiches, moving them into showers and beds. It was a time of total assumption of self. I had to be everything that we are together. It was full. I was full.
I was about to assume the other place; leaving him to get them places, to quietly slide teeth from under a hopeful pillow, bake the pizzas, check on the bills, and move them into showers and beds.
Abandonment ran through my head and left a trail. There on his chest rising and falling I gave instructions for the boys he himself made. But as with all the manuals he tosses aside, he would work on intuition and get it right. I couldn't program their days or take the weight off or be the buffer, the helper. I was going to leave. And while abandonment wanted to grow its cloud over me, self-abandonment called me to go.
James Brian Smith wrote, "We play because our God is good. We play for joy. Play is an act of self-abandonment."I was going to play. To be engaged in beauty, to take things in, to explore and discover. I fought not to make it a spiritual exercise, a kingdom journey. Can a mother justify and leave for something other than silence and solitude, mountaintop experiences, purposeful accomplishment? I had to tell myself, "yes." Sometimes we need to journey outside of ourselves rather than deeper in. We need to let go of the ascetic and embrace the artistic, reach the fingers far from the fearful and self-controlled to touch the joy.
Letting go of ourselves, our serious business of living our own lives, and pushing into self-abandonment is spiritual exercise too. Jesus calls us to abandon. Leave the dead to bury their own dead. Shake the dust off and leave. Leave father and mother and cleave to a wife. "And leaving everything he rose and followed him." When we abandon things and processes and expectations, we cling to Jesus. When we abandon self, we cling to life and find abundance.
As I drove the long easy roads from the city, to the island town, I tuned the XM3 to the songs of my youth, the days of inhibition and possibility. I drove roads that reminded me of that homeplace when emancipation was immanent and freedom came from within. I remembered the winter play on Lowell Hill, the dances in the commons, the adventures in the city, the cars. We knew how to play. I sang the songs of that soundtrack and touched it all again.
"We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn." -- Matthew 11:17I don't want to pretend righteousness and sit out the dance. It is time to play.