What Matters Most


I step up. This platform feels stiff. I am weary of another surge to get in shape but start by cue of lunging mechanics. Music whispers clamor within my ears.

I watch below me the blurring of my black and bright pink tennis shoes as they swish back and forth past each other, swallowed into the grips of the treadmill. 

I press my finger hard into the green arrow and move in place faster, urging my mind toward decisions, to do lists, projects, and books read, unfinished, untouched.  My body balances itself.  My knees ache from time spent away from exercise of any form.  My feet clumsily stomp in the direction of clarity.

Gentleness bubbles up to my brain.  It washes over my intensity. I close my eyes and reclaim myself.  I pace steady and breathe methodically.  Airy ringlets of my hair find my face and land on my open mouth.  My stomach turns as I remember my power.  I twist my hips and open my posture.  I pierce the space in front of me with my searching eyes.

I’m terrified I’m not living this one life in wild pursuit of what matters most. 

My arms lengthen.  My speed picks up.  My stride widens and my legs reach far in front, glide happy far back. My freckles dance on my exposed arms. I feel alive.

And this is the answer to my prayers lifted. The littles. The stringing of moments and breathing gratitude for all that’s already here.   

The harmony of chicken noodle soup. The way my sink washes white after its bath in Soft Scrub.  My heart beating into a song.  The sparkling of my wedding ring under high lighting. My son’s imaginary bat’s random disappearances.  The warmth of a scarf. The taste of pumpkin bread and the communion of family. The opportunity to serve my husband with a glass of water, a peppered egg, a kind response. Also, my freckles.

God made me a thinker. To enjoy life amid unanswered questions is a tenuous task.  My seriousness sinks as I breathe into simplicity, as I spring forward for the beauty of this life’s surface.

To think, to question, to pursue a higher good, a better stage as mother and teacher and wife—this is all good, but it can never overcome the tenacity of a life well lived in the physicality which surrounds us.

The laugh of a friend.  Fall’s generosity of color: gold, cherry red, tangerine.  A game of Scrabble. A glass of wine for no particular reason.  The cool walk through a dark night downtown.  Huddling around a bonfire.  Bruschetta spooned upon broiled bread. Front porch conversation.  Candles humbly glowing in the corner of church. Light sprawling fierce on hardwood.

I’m in pursuit of what matters most in this one wild and precious life

Me patient with my son’s potty training. The pause before I speak. The cleaning of my car before my husband murders me.