lightning bugs, leopard print, and a red convertible..and change’s awkward edge

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

On Monday nights, I drive out through the country to Aledo, where I meet with my prayer partner and then afterward have supper with one or both of my parents, depending on what their schedules are.  Tonight on my drive home, I saw lightning bugs (the name “lightning bugs” sounds less poetic and more umm podunk than their other name, “fireflies”…but I love the podunk feel of that name.)  It was my first sighting of them this year, I think.

Lightning bugs make me happy.  Pretty much any time I see them, I go back to the memory of my very first awareness of them.  I was little, and my mom pointed out the window and then walked me out into the yard to show me, eventually giving me a jar and encouraging me to catch some.  What I remember is that from INSIDE the house, I was intrigued (if also a little confused.)  From OUTSIDE the house, it was scary at first.  So foreign.  So strange.  It made no sense to me.  Light comes from electricity.  These bugs clearly had no electricity.  How did they have lights? 

But with time and some coaxing from my mom, I eventually embraced the whole notion of these magical bugs and went about the business of gleefully catching them and tearing them apart to make their little glowing bodies into rings just like the other kids on my block (kids from the country/rural areas tend not to be as soft and merciful and humane as kids from the city!) 

That curve from “this is foreign/strange/maybe scary” to the embracing of something new – that resonates with me tonight.  I am always awkward on the beginning end of that.  I remember it in small ways – like when I got my red convertible Chrysler LeBaron.  My car was aging hard, and one day my dad came by to take me for a ride.  He wanted to show me a car I should consider.  I was shocked when we drove by it.  Bright red with a white top.  All of its angles were cool.  I was almost speechless.  I had to go home and think about it.  I asked a whole lot of people, “Do you think I’m a red convertible kind of girl?”  I had to ask, because I had never thought of myself as such.  I was driving a blue Corsica – very slightly sporty, but really just a nice reliable car.

A red convertible?  I had never considered such a thing!  And really, I never would have, had my dad not challenged me for it. 

Perhaps you are wondering why a red convertible should matter, to Ms. Woo Woo Spiritual Woman.  Maybe you want to question why I would have been so materially minded as to be drawn to something like that – you were thinking that *things* supposedly don’t matter to me…so what’s the deal?  If you were/are thinking that, in general I am right with you.

But the thing is, I was kind of old before my time, at that age and stage.  I was settled into my middle-age in really a kind of premature way.  The red convertible was (along with, among other things, a floor-length leopard print dress my son goaded me into buying, and a long black leather jacket my daycare kids’ parents blessed me with) just a way to challenge that.  To stir me up.  To knock me out of my cycle of prematurely getting old in all the meanings of “old” that are unlovely, undesirable, and don’t bring life or joy.  They were just *things* and in general things don’t matter to me – but these specific things were keys in helping change my mind set – in helping me to re-imagine myself as not so frumpy, not so settled, not so…well…boring.  As a result of that beginning, I am for sure much younger today at 47 than I was at 30.  Freer thinking, happier, more open to change, more inclined to embrace life, more likely to speak love and sow and reap growth. 

Here’s to the uncomfortable edge of change.  What a blessing it is, when we press on through to the other side and let it do its work in us – when we don’t quail and chafe at the notion of it, and plant our feet and refuse to move with it. 

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