Going on a dig. Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Makes me think of Indiana Jones. And a story.
One of the great memories of me as a kid was in our backyard--usually armed with a rake, a shovel, maybe just a stick. Digging down in the dirt, finding a mysterious hole, or following some critter to it's lair. Time flowed like water through my fingers, it seemed, as I went about the backyard taking it all in--breathing it in, really. Just experiencing it. It was effortless, it seemed, to be alive.
Then I was thirty-two. And being alive was not effortless. My marriage was on the brink of complete failure. I was in counseling for codependency. And I really just wanted everything to be the way I wanted it to be--I wanted my PERFECT LIFE to be PERFECT. It wasn't. I was a hot mess, and so was my husband. We were so very far from perfect. Being alive was not effortless.
One day, I remember watching our own kids, then preschoolers, watch ants. Ants! They were both just sitting there, for several minutes, watching a row of ants do what ants do. They appeared transfixed.
Where was I? Watching them from above, towering over them like a typical adult: "Don't get too close." "Don't touch them!" "They bite!" "Why are you touching them?"
Their response? They completely ignored me. Their fascination with these little creatures totally consumed them, as their tiny mouths squealed and their chubby fingers reached out excitedly to watch the ants figure out a new way to get to their destination from around their fingertips.
Did I then stop my own self long enough to snap a picture, or sit down on the ground with them to soak up those moments?
I did not. I hurried them along inside the house, away from biting ants and all, to the inside and safety. Well, for me, it was safety, I think.
They were learning to be alive while I had learned to survive.
That time in my life had hardened a part of me. Along with many moments prior to it.
And in that hardening, cracks appeared in my soul.
Fast forward to 43, the year those cracks became my first dig-site--holy healing opportunities is what I call them.
But I had to dig.
To gather my tools like the little girl in the backyard of our little white rental house on Alonda Drive.
To dig down into hardened sediment and packed dirt and tangled weeds.
To lean into the shovel with my whole body, mind and spirit, to ask for help from others when I was exhausted or the pain too paralyzing.
To wholly rely on God whose grace would, I daily prayed, would sustain me.
Digging is hard work. The first dig is the scariest. It was scary. Dig anyway.