Wednesday, May 02, 2012

My Ode to Dust

Sometimes, the residue of my own expectations covers me in fine dust, and I walk through the world as one continually under construction.

I begin the morning shining and clean.  New, every morning.  But as I walk through the house it begins to appear.  First, an imperceptible shadow.  A molecule here, there, clings.  One speck when I look in the sink and realize that it is 7 am and I am already behind.  A second when I look at the piles that abound.  Laundry.  Papers.  Lists.  I am covered now.  Layer one is complete.  More when I shrink, just for a moment, from a child or a husband or a friend because I wish I were somewhere else.  Wish I was someone else.  And bit by bit, speck by speck, I don't even bother brushing it off now, but instead help pile it on.  Housekeeping?  I smirk, and dump a handful of the dust over my head.  Not my thing.  Child-rearing? Laughter. I jump into the dust and swim around.  There are others much better at all of this.

I am drenched, now.  Soaked through.  Weighed down--in dust.

Certainly.  This is not who I am meant to be: a dust-wearer.

But in my mind--slowed, no doubt, by the grit and grime that has crept in--I think the problem is circumstantial.  What I am doing.  And I think that maybe if I change what I do, how I spend my time, how I order the events of my life--that the dust will disappear.

And I think that heartily.  Until someone asks me the hard question.  "What do you think you should be doing instead?"

It occurs to me that I have no answer.  Those things I tell myself--that her life or his life or all of these other lives have more purpose, more direction, more value--suddenly seem questionable.  I blink.  For a moment, I can see clearly.

And then this:

"God formed Man out of dust from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life.  The Man came alive--a living soul!"

I think to myself: to be alive!  To be a living soul who isn't just breathing, but who is alive.  Yes, that's it.  That's what I want to be.  Living.

My nostrils begin to tickle.  Begging for that breath.

And though I am just one, buried in my own residue, magnet for the world's dirt and a shrine to the god of dust, there is hope for me.  Hope that life's breath--God's breath--can blow steady on me and bring me to life.

I can see it:  God, breathing in deep.  His mountain-sized lungs sucking in oxygen and expanding to capacity; the pressure mounting as He holds his breath and looks for me, the little one buried and barely visible in the dust mound amid all the other little ones in their own dust mounds.  And when he spies me, his gentle lips curve open and blow forth and I expect a torrent, but feel a steady breeze and gasp in because I hadn't realized how badly I needed the air.  Life.  Life being blown in.  The dust swirling, scattering.  The painful grit clearing.

The circumstances--they will not change.  Not anytime soon, at least.  But I am learning--with every morning, with every time that I allow the cleansing breath to come in, to clear out, to take hold--that it is not about the circumstances, anyway.  It is not about what I am doing or not doing.  About the things I accomplish or don't.

It is about the air that I breathe.

The life that I allow in.

The life that I am invited to breathe back out.

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