I had a moment in time. A tidal wave of emotion coursed through my body. I was angry at all the selfishness in the world. I screamed at the top of my lungs. I cried because of the lies. I wanted to run as far as my feet would take me. I always want to run.
Instead I let someone hug me. When I did I cried. My heart was heavy and full, but I didn’t run away. I did something out of the ordinary, out of my ordinary. I walked outside and headed towards the woods behind the house. As I walked, emotions ran deep.
I reached a crossroads. There was a path to the left and one to my right. My eyes moved back and forth undecided as to which path I should take. Finally, I turned to the right and walked a few steps. I had taken this path before. It was familiar to me, but on this day it was not the direction I chose.
I turned around and started to the left. A house was in clear view. Just a little ways and I would be in the backyard of the neighbors I had yet to meet. I’d seen their cars drive up and down the lane. I’d puzzled many times as to why their lights were rarely on. I had heard wild stories of who resided there and I had dreamed up a million more.
When I reached the edge of their lawn, I stooped down for a moment and began to pray. The air was still and I thought of all the tales I had woven in my mind. You see, the mind is a big place and my imagination bigger yet. Maybe this was the home of a wealthy vacationer who only visited periodically for a picturesque view of the mountains. Maybe my neighbor was a member of a secret society; a figure of mystery. Perhaps I saw assassins in the foyer awaiting my return ever so patiently. I even dreamed up a mad doctor, dark hair askew and wild eyes darting back and forth. I had many dreams as to who inhabited that big brick house, so many I had given birth to a great consuming fear.
As I crouched there at the edge of the immaculate lawn, my eyes saw something new. I saw a trampoline where children had likely jumped together many days, feet like tiny springs as they reached for cotton candy clouds. I saw a swingset that held echoes of laughter and childhood glee. My eyes beheld an RV parked out back, one that had taken family trips to the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone Park. I begin to see a different picture than before. I saw a family who loved and laughed and made memories to last a lifetime.
“Go knock,” a voice said deep within. “I can not,” I thought. The idea was wild and my heart raced with anticipation. I wondered if I would be in danger. I pondered over what I would say. I wrestled again and again with the possibility of what could be. I thought long and hard.
Finally I gathered my courage and headed down the lawn to the front steps. My heart raced as I climbed those stairs. I pecked on the window lightly and peered inside. Joy filled me as I beheld a piano in the entryway, sheet music displayed proudly and black keys glistening. I imagined tiny hands gracefully moving across the keys and I smiled as the sound of great composers filled my ears.
I knocked again interrupting my melodic daydream. The door opened slowly and I beheld a little girl, beautiful smile lighting up the doorway. I introduced myself and told her my son would love to play some day. She smiled again. The conversation was brief, but the knowledge I acquired that day was priceless.
To the right a clear path, quite similar to the other. Yet as I began to walk, I knew this path was not for me. Perhaps I would take this one later and see where it led, I thought to myself. However, as I trudged along the path to the left, this thought was quickly forgotten. I looked across the lawn and beheld the beautiful house I had long viewed with fear and suspicion. Instead of assassins, mad doctors, and secret societies I saw possibilities. I saw things I’d never seen before. I pictured my children laughing and playing in the warmth of the sun. I saw myself sitting at the piano and filling the house with song. The smell of cookies drifted through the kitchen as tiny feet padded against the hallway floor.
Suddenly I saw possibilities I’d never seen before. I saw my toes in the sand and ocean tides lapping at my sun kissed feet. I saw grand castles and precious jewels, libraries filled with row after row of books.
It was in this moment I understood for the first time ever that I deserved good things, great things. I was not perfect by any man’s standards, but I was worthy! This singular realization left me breathless. Tears welled up in my eyes and a joy I had not known before filled my entire being.
That day I took an unknown path. It was one I had filled with irrational fears. It only took a step of faith; a leap of courage, but when I jumped I found myself in the arms of possibility. All my anger and pain were long forgotten. I had found my way back home!
Written by: Tiffany Jackson
Photograph courtesy of Robbie Osborne