Awaken to the Moments
Spring comes as a miraculous surprise to me every year. The fresh air arrives out of nowhere and makes me giddy. The branches are bare and the ground is muddy, but I am intoxicated by the scent of the wind. In the bustle of my life I often overlook graceful simplicity, because I can’t seem to slow myself down to see it. Like many parents, I spend most of my time in a minivan. But when I happen to roll the window down, the unexpected, graceful spring air wafts in and I am blessed; I stop feeling sorry for myself and I step back into my body. Persephone has returned, and so have I, fully awakened by the uncommon grace of spring.
Two weeks ago I accompanied my daughter to the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton. She was performing in the ballet Beauty and the Beast with the Pioneer Valley Ballet (PVB). As I waited to drop off my darling dancer along with the other parents, a little boy not more than four exclaimed, “Look! The fust- flowah-a-spring!” All of us swung our heads to view this improbability, and lo and behold, he was right. There it was, poking its dainty purple crown purposefully out of the mud. The spell was broken when the same sweet cherub jabbed his umbrella within a hair of this purple miracle and announced, “I’ne- gonna-deeg-et-up.” His lightning-quick mother sprung into action. The flower was saved. That flower was special for two reasons: first was its circumstance. It was born in the mud on a rainy gray-slate of a day. It wasn’t the pampered child of a meticulous gardener. It had a humble provenance. Secondly, it was the only one. There wasn’t even the suggestion of another tender leaf. By June we won’t gape at the blooms; We will take them for granted because they will bask their abundant faces in the warm sun. That common crocus was the perfect example of uncommon grace.
We witness grace when something or someone rises above common circumstance, gives us pause, and possibly leaves us changed. Like many other parents, I watched Beauty and the Beast more than once that weekend. Our children were owls, fireflies, teaspoons, candlesticks, and feather dusters. It was magical. Christopher Phillips is a professional dancer with PVB. He danced the part of Beast. When my daughter sees him around town he greets her sweetly, saying, “Hi, Kiddo!” We do not know him personally, but Christopher seems really, really kind. However, when he leapt on stage as Beast, his power took my breath away. His dance with Beauty was so passionate, tears sprung to my eyes. His dancing as Beast was brilliant not only when juxtaposed against Beauty, but against how my grade-school daughter sees him. Christopher is likely a regular guy, but on that day in that theatre he was the embodiment of uncommon grace; Unexpected, intoxicating, possibly life-changing.
I hope we can all awaken to the moments when we are in the presence of such gifts, and better still, to recognize the potential for it in ourselves. The good news is that grace will come, even when you are too busy to roll down the window and wake up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Mattison Buhl
As a mother of three, Sarah appreciates the extraordinary beauty of the ordinary. She makes her home with her family in Northampton, MA.
[Photo credit: (ccl) Julia Folsom]