Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Expansion and Contraction

Not talking about my jean size.
Or the cracks in my driveway.
I'm talking about the patterns of life that become more apparent the longer you live.
I find myself in constant periods of expansion and contraction.
Expansion is when my world gets bigger, more complicated, more exciting.
It is the months of success and trading business cards and meeting friends and feeling my sphere of influence in the world is.... well, expanding.
And then there is contraction.
The friend who moves away. The person who gets upset with you. The sickness or the deadlines or the snowstorms or the deaths that shrink your world, one person, or friendship, or contact or freedom at a time.
And I have discovered one fundamental truth in the last two years as I've swung wildly between great expansions and frightening contractions. The very center of my life, of me, is my husband and children.
That is about as small as my bubble gets.
When the world shrinks and closes in on me, they are the ones whose arms are so tight around me that they will not let the pressures or worries crush me. They are the net around me that doesn't buckle or bend.
I've had to learn that almost everything beyond them is a sort of mirage, the parts of life that are not definite or determined. Whatever I gain can be lost, whatever I achieve can be forgotten, whatever I strive for can end in failure, beyond that tiny, incredible circle of family. They are indestructible.
I should have named the Dancer Atlas because one of her smiles can lift an entire world of despair from my shoulders. Does she have any idea she is a Colossus?
So I've learned not to be as frightened by the days or months or even years when the world starts shrinking, the walls start closing in, because no matter how small and confined I feel in those moments, I know it will not crush me.
My husband stretches out his arms of steel and just like Samson, holds up our walls while everything crumbles down around us.
I can't stop the forces of nature. I can't stop the pattern of expansion and contraction.
I can't fit into my pre-children jeans.
But I get to live with super-heroes.

So all things considered, I think it's pretty good.


  1. This was beautiful and made me cry. It was what I needed to read and remember today- tonight- this week. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Melanie! It's so nice to connect with people like you.