Sunday, October 31, 2010

Write of Passage - Day 14

August 15, 2009:  Juliet, IL - HOME 
(270 miles)

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."  ~Dr. Seuss

Mementos of the Miles We Traveled
Our Rite of Passage ended today, not with a bang or a clanging cymbal, but more with just a quiet, reflective sigh. An almost inaudible release of breath. I'm not sure what I expected after two weeks on the road, how I thought this would all come to an end. Surely not as something so big and boisterous as a scene from a summer blockbuster movie. Or, on the flip side, a sugary-sweet moment from an after-school special. I wasn't thinking Cote and I needed to have one final gut-wrenching heart to heart, or climb one last metaphoric mountain in order to "properly" end to our 6,000 mile journey. Actually, neither of these dramatic conclusions even crossed my mind. 
Instead, the morning of our last day passed by with Cote and I driving along in a kind of enclosed and knowing atmosphere. Our time was spent exchanging a few tender smiles, a couple somber looks, and occasionally reaching across the space between us just to squeeze each other's hand. Simple mother, daughter stuff. Nothing earth-shattering. (Nothing to really write the fact is, I didn't that day.) At times, we sat in complete silence, cocooned within our own thoughts, imagining I suppose what our homecoming would be like, and how we'd feel when we finally set foot back upon familiar ground.
To be honest, because of the quiet manner in which our Rite of Passage ended, I have been anxious for days now trying to figure out how to write about it. With no "ah-ha" moment to report......with no grand, over-the-top moral to close out the final chapter of our story......what was I going to say here? Was there anything even left to be said? Could I simply write that we pulled into our driveway, and stepped into the waiting and welcoming arms of our family? Would it be enough to say, yes, we had come to the end of our journey, and we will now be forever changed because of what we did? Would this simple truth be enough, for you, my reader, or would you be left disappointed, dissatisfied? Could I really just say, "The End," and then walk away and let it be just that.....the end?
After several days of berating myself, I finally decided that I could......and that I will.
And when I do........everything will be ok.
Because after all, Cote's whole Rite of Passage came to be about the art of living. Day to day. Every second, every minute. It wasn't about focusing on one pinnacle moment, one heart-stopping revelation, but instead the journey came to exemplify how all the moments of life string together like a priceless strand of pearls. As Cote so eloquently stated back when all of this first got started.....
"It's not about just showing up and climbing a tree, Mom. It's about seeing everything there is to see along the way. It's about the journey...what it takes to get there. And I want to see it all. I don't want to miss a thing."
Thus, her Rite of Passage came to be about living, plain and simple. And seeing the beauty in the every day. About exploring life's possibilities, and uncovering the deep well of strength inside herself she didn't yet know existed. For two weeks, Cote learned to immerse herself wholly into life, to rely on all of her senses.....sight, smell, and really experience her surroundings. She learned to recognize that quiet inner voice, the one that often gets blasted by the repetitive and pounding noise constantly perforating our world. Her journey became a lesson in what to do and what not to do in, should do it, fully, daily. As opposed to just sitting on the sidelines and warming the bench. Cote discovered the difference between taking a quick and easy route, in order to experience the unexpected joys and surprises along a more difficult and challenging one. She learned there is a time to Play. A time to Explore. And a time to take Risks. And she learned there are times to be mindful and walk gently with life. To not to be so fast to enforce her own will, but instead be willing to let patience and perseverance be her guiding forces. Cote's journey had her acknowledging and accepting that fear does exists, but that she could confidently step forward with the faith she already possessed. Faith in herself, in others, and in a Power greater than she could ever begin to imagine. She tested her instincts, and she slowed down long enough to hear the sound of her own beating heart. For that is where her dreams reside, she discovered, and if she learns how to listen carefully enough, she'll then be able to follow the path that will take her to them. Life isn't played out like in the movies......with one big bang, one long-awaited revelation, or one magical solution to one overwhelming is spent learning how to adjust, and reinvent, and reset your compass when you miss the mark or veer off course. And it's about waking up every morning, really waking up. And then noticing the quiet moments that take your breath away. And its about remembering to always, always, be thankful. Even when things don't turn out right. Because, chances are, eventually, they will.
Overall, we'd traveled far (both inward and outward), yet in the end, Cote and I were able to come home again. At noon on August 15, 2009, we set down our suitcases and embraced the love and safety that was there waiting for us. Home isn't always four walls and a roof, however. We realized it's the place where unconditional love resides, the place where the lights are kept well lit, even when you're too far away to see them.
My hope is that as Cote begins her next great adventure.......the one that she will now travel without an immediate family member by her side.......she will remember the lights of home will always be left burning........there will be a beacon of light on the horizon of even her darkest of remind her of the  love that will always be waiting to embrace her and welcome her home. 

1 comment:

  1. you are so gosh darn deep ;) i love it haha
    ps i found this interesting..we ended the journey the same way we started it kinda silentish in the car ride, like no deep talks..remember in your very first entry when you said you were scared that was how the whole trip was going to be? funny how that one turned out isn't it?


Powerful Words

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran