Magic and Weight

Sometimes there are moments that propel us forward, remind us that at least at some point in our lives, we believed in very big things.  Not just effervescent, heat of the moment belief, but a real, tangible winking that good things are going to happen.  For me, one of these moments happened when I was a junior in high school.  I was at a friends graduation at the Cathedral of the Madeline in Salt Lake City.  I don't know if it was the way the stained glass looked with the early morning sun glowing through it, or the birds in the trees outside just before we came in.  It could have been a really good graduation speech, though I kind of doubt it.  It could have been that I was sitting up so high looking down on everyone, watching time inch forward like white, flapping wings.  Whatever it was that morning,  I remember feeling so excited, so ecstatic, that my stomach was in knots.  I think I recall writing something about magic in my journal.  I was honest to goodness, just so excited about what was to be accomplished in this life, that my insides were going wild.

I've felt that subsequently, though perhaps with less intensity as the years go on.  I've gone through phases where I think, "I've lost it, any magic, or pretense to magic I may have ever had, is just gone."  Then I go through times where I reflect back on that moment and think, "silly girl, so naive and fresh, how embarrassing." Then there are times like today, when I realize that I am not the only one who has ever felt these things.  Wow, big surprise.  I don't know how I ever imagine that I am the only one who feels certain things, though those moments still are very much my own, it is most refreshing to know that I am not wading in an empty swimming pool with them.  At a Women's Conference today at my church, a very smart women was the keynote speaker. She said that she originally wanted to use a talk that she had written twenty years ago as a missionary in Russia.  She said she wanted to use the talk because it seemed so brimming with hope and happiness, but as she read the old talk, she realized that while her essence was still made up of the same particles, she was a different person today, with different things to say.  She said that she worried, like I have, that she'd lost the magic that she felt those twenty years ago, but then she said something that should accompany any sentence about feeling magic:  we also grow older, and add to our souls the weight of wisdom.  I don't know that I heard too much after she said those words, "weight of wisdom".

In my head, my life from that point in the church pew began to rewind itself and I followed myself back through the weight of moving to a new place and starting over, the first year being a mom, the weight of pregnancy, of marriage, of mistakes, of heartbreak, of schooling, of disappointments, of a mission, of imperfection, of joy, of doubt and loss, of happiness, of service, of friends, and family, and painting and poetry and hikes in the mountains.  And when I was all through journeying back through time and had returned to my place in the church pew where everyone was singing a hymn, I felt better.  I felt like I no longer had reason to lament the fact that I don't get giddy with butterflies as often as I used to.  I am far from ripe, but I am preparing for a harvest when I am wrought with the weight of wisdom.  I think it is possible to cultivate both.

I also realized that those fifteen years ago, when I was so excited for the things that were to happen, which I imagined at the time were earth-shattering and totally life changing, are actually happening and have been happening all this time.  Yeah, I'm not actually saving orphans or starting revolutions, I haven't even protested something in years, but my place has been pretty good.  My place over the past fifteen years has been filled with white flapping wings and birds in trees, and many friends in so many places, and rain out my window at night, and Carl, and Remy, sweet Remy who bites me each morning when he comes into our bed, and the new friends who surprised me with birthday party when I least expected it.  Later in the conference I started to write down a quote by Emma Smith, but I only got part way before the slide changed and it was gone, but I kind of prefer the small piece I managed to get down in my journal.  It says simply, 'We are going to do something extraordinary,...'


Racher said...

I think this might be the first thing I've read in a long, long time that resonates with my soul so much. I know just what you mean about the magic, and white wings flapping, and then feeling like it is all gone from the world. I still feel it all the time, but the images and face of hope I feel with it has gone through several shifts. I love this post, I love your mind, I love that your baby bites you every morning. Thank you so much for sharing this!

zlb said...

I love you Ashmae.

Rachel Hunt said...

I like this. We grow old, but we grow wise. We carry that weight and make new goals, new hopes on this wisdom. You have had so many experiences lately. We have had so many experiences.

Shelly said...

The "weight of wisdom". Wow. I feel like I'm therefore, very, very heavy... BUT, "We are going to do something extraordinary"! These were the BEST words for me to read this morning! Thank you, so much, for sharing your wisdom! You are inspiring, Ash.