My kids love this book:
I’m so tired of reading it that I’ve hidden it a few times. They always find it again. The philosophy is really quite striking, so it always ends up back on our regular playlist.
We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we gotta go through it, It reads.
Good point right? When you want something, when you’re on your way to getting it, or when you’re even just moving forward in your daily life, you’re not going to stop and just give up over some road block. You’re going to go through whatever it is.
I was reading a grown up book recently and saw that Robert Frost thought the same thing.
The best way out is always through, is a line from his poem A Servant to Servants. The narrator says it quite simply as a solution to getting through a time that is unpleasant.
It’s interesting that she doesn’t say the “fastest” way out is through. She says the “best” way. Going through the middle as opposed to going around speaks a little bit to the mathematical idea that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
But it also means, cutting to the chase, getting right to the heart of it, not circumventing the issue. And I think there might be more to it than just getting out. In fact in life, we could just cut the word out and the sentence would read: The best way is always through.
It’s true when you think about it–Straight through the flame. Whatever you’re trying to do, the best way is through. And it’s mostly because of the effect going through something has on you. It’s true about almost everything, not everything thing, but almost.
I mentioned a conversation I had with Big Sister on the eve of her birthday the about doing the first five years with her again. Crazy as it sounds I would literally do the labor again a million times. The first five years were really hard but now that they are done, I would do them again because I know what I’m dealing with. The next five? That’s a big mystery. And well I’m scared to death.
But I know I am better for these first five. Whatever I’ve lost, it’s not as much as I’ve gained. That said, I have every reason to believe that she and I both are going to be refined by whatever flame we walk through during these next five.
This morning I had a bout of pitifulness when for a few minutes, due to some poor planning. I felt suddenly panicked because I didn’t have enough presents.
I took myself for my walk to clear my head. I’m convinced that meditation–the daily practice of focus– was designed for moments like these. Obsessing and placing blame are time consuming activities and in end the time is wasted. In these moments no matter how dumb or righteous our thoughts and feelings are, we can acknowledge them. We can let them exist and then focus somewhere else. No matter how many times we have to refocus because we got distracted, the practice itself is worth it.
You can’t go under it, you can’t go over it, you gotta go through it.
At the end of the walk I allowed myself a few minutes on a bench, giving myself a good talking to. Let this go, I said to myself. You are being pitiful. Do you want to make her birthday about you? She will not understand your disappointment with yourself. She will read it as disappointment with her. The gifts you have for her are enough for her. They need to be enough for you. Do not waste anymore time with this. Get on with the day.
I sat there breathing in the morning’s rainy air and then I heard the call of the Cuckoo. I smiled. He was more of a reminder today than a birthday symphony, but I knew the subject was closed and it was time to walk home.
She was exhausted with excitement by the end of the day–Friends, surprise well wishers, mandarine orange cheese cake, home made strawberry ice cream, spaghetti bolognese, new stories to read, new toys too, crafty time–it was as much fun as a five year old could have on a rainy day in the middle of a pandemic.
Thank goodness I didn’t waste the day trying to acquire more gifts. More presents literally would’ve added nothing to the day and the time wasted on obsessing about them would’ve just stolen something from all of us.
Celebrating the birth of these girls is like reciting my favorite lines from my favorite movie or hearing the refrain of my favorite song. It’s their day, but it’s also a celebration of us. I feel so very honored just to be part of their story.