Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Forgetful Heart

We've all had days that blur endlessly one into another. The same daily routines that leave us mind-numbed and yawning through our lives. However, every once in a while we're given a gift, a glimpse of how life should be. Like flashes from a Hallmark card come to life, these glimpses come in moments so seemingly insignificant, they're easy to miss.

I had one of these moments this morning while dropping off my kids at school. As usual, the circle was packed with cars, bumper to bumper waiting for the crossing guard to give the go ahead to move. The buses had just let out and legions of third, fourth and fifth graders herded toward the main entrance of the school. It was pretty much the same old, same old I saw every morning, but as I watched my kids join the throng, I noticed two boys holding back. They had spotted my fifth grader, and with huge smiles, waited for him on the sidelines. As my son joind his friends, they all fist punched and then laughing, headed in to start their day. I felt a stupid, silly grin spread across my face and my heart swelled. All I could think was, "Wow."

Happy, I pulled out of the circle and onto the street, but as I drove home that momentary feeling of parental euphoria ebbed as I thought about life, about how things change and how I didn't want any part of that change for my kids. How I wanted them to stay happy and innocent the way I saw them just moments before. I don't know why, but for some reason scenes from the movie, "The Breakfast Club," flashed through my mind. The random thoughts were most likely a by-product of caffeine-deprivation, but nonetheless, there they were. Those of us of a certain age remember the movie well, and though there are an equal amount of humorous and poignant moments from the film, imagine my dismay when one line in particular grabbed me as I turned into my driveway: "When you grow up, your heart dies."

I sat in my car a little stunned at where my brain had taken me, and after my initial feeling of, "What the hell...", I thought, "Huh, is that what really happened? Why I was so blown away by such a simple gesture of innocent joy?" I turned off the ignition and looked at myself in the rear view mirror, staring at my reflection as if the answer was hidden somewhere behind my eyes.

With a sigh, I got out of the car and walked halfway toward my open garage door and stopped. It hit me then. It's not that our hearts die when we grow up. It's that we forget to remember that life is simple, that joy isn't quantified by how much we know, how much we have, what we look like or how much success we achieve. We get sidetracked in our busy lives, becoming associates in our marriages and our friendships, believing that life is made up of details.

I went in the house, and shut the garage door behind me. As I climbed the basement stairs, I started to laugh. My caffeine deprived brain had done it again, but this time it was the epilogue from the movie that ran through my head.

...[Mr. Vernon] you see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms and in the most convenient definitions...But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal. Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club

The words still speak to me, but I see them now as a token memory, encouraging me to look past the obvious and see what's really there. That perhaps these little glimpses grab our hearts for no other reason than to remind us of what's important. That joy is right there in front of us, if we have courage to look for it.

So, take inventory of the glimpses shown you and recapture the moments of joy in your own life. Trust me, your forgetful heart can take it.

Originally posted on my blog 'Madcap Moms...What Wrong with this Picture'  May 1, 2012

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