In New York, I stay across the street from a small park. The transformation over the years, from dump to something you take your children to is essentially complete. During the day, strollers crowd the sidewalk and the sound of laughter echoes against the side of old and new buildings. It is here that I find parents telling their story. It is out in the open for all to see, here, and observe. This is especially true with young parents. You can watch scenes of joy and discovery. You can experience the angst of too much stress and uncertainty. As much as they want things to go well, the fears of the children’s mothers, about the past, present, and or future, play themselves out in a way that is living theatre.
I find myself caught in audience. It is hard to look away, even when I am embarrassed for them in their actions. It is hard to stay by, even as I see stress revealing its evil side in the living memories of those unable to defend or even understand. The mix of ugly and beauty flows amid wonder, innocence, deceit, wisdom, and something I only know as evil. It is a wonderful reality, unique in the moment at hand. Yet, it repeats in a cycle always fresh.
For the most part, I find myself walking away with total admiration of the mothers involved. They struggle against incredible odds, somehow bringing a smile to every situation. They find joy in the mundane and predictable. They revel in the discovery, blissfully and willfully walking the steps over and then over again.
I am sure there is far more going on underneath the surface. If I could listen in, I would find a soul talking in the same way my God speaks to me; “out of the sheer goodness of my heart, because of who I am, I keep a tight rein on my anger and hold my temper. I don't wash my hands of you.” (Isaiah 48.9) I love you. I will always be with you.
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