In May of 2013, I unwittingly lost a glove from my bike basket on my ride to yoga class. When I discovered my loss, I stood in the yoga studio holding the lonely leftie, thinking how good and serviceable those gloves had been over many years. One glove was little use without the other.
On my ride home, I glanced across the street at the perfect moment. By then it was dark, but I could just make out the small blacker-than-black shape on the asphalt. How grateful I felt to restore that glove to my chilly right hand! It seemed like a mini-miracle.
The pattern repeated twice more in a week: I lost a yoga mat, and then a key. Both came back in a few days’ time.
Back then, David was applying for jobs across the nation, and I too felt the call of the Unexplored. Still, I couldn’t help but hope that my losing/finding pattern came as a sign: perhaps we’ll lose our Massachusetts life for a little while, but then it shall be restored to us.
The day after we returned, we drove down Cabot Street and saw this auspicious sign.
We were on our way to meet Desmond, eight-week-old son of Melissa and Andrew. How glad I felt to hold this new person in my arms rather than merely “like” another photo online.
Next came yoga class with wise Willa, then a few voice lessons – “real” lessons, no longer lessons via Skype.
Twenty-four hours later I spent a whole day making music and talking shop with Northeast Montessori Institute teachers. If you need an infusion of joy, I suggest that you sit in the grass, singing folksongs. If you need an infusion of joy plus hope for the future of humanity, sit in the grass singing folksongs with Montessorians.
The next day we went to J.D. and Dawn’s wedding. Sunshine, softball, and pie on the coast of Maine. David and J.D. have missed each other sorely in the years they’ve lived apart. First J.D. went to law school in Colorado; when he finally returned, we were in Kansas. Hard to say which was sweeter: witnessing his joyful marriage to our pal Dawn, or knowing that we finally live close enough for regular communion.
We returned home from Maine and I turned my attention straightaway to Renaissance Kids, a weeklong workshop at my beloved Community House.
We sang, danced, snacked, and staged wacky skits.
The little children fell in love with the young leaders, who had the good sense to fall in love right back.
At week’s end, I found myself directing a show, something I’ve done hundreds of times before. As I cued entrances and mouthed lyrics, I felt a surge of rightness that can best be described as homecoming. I watched the skits (conceived, written, and staged entirely by the children and their teenage leaders) and felt positively giddy to witness their camaraderie. My friend Olivia sat near me, and I had to look away from her so I wouldn’t begin weeping with laughter.
We stood together and sang our friendship song – the one Olivia helped us write on Wednesday morning. “Will you stay?” half of us sang. “I will stay,” the rest of us answered back. And I knew that I will be a music teacher as long as I have health in my body and breath for my song. Not because I’m an impressive musician; I’ve long considered myself blessedly imperfect in that regard.
No, I must teach music because the task brings me to life. It is a good and serviceable right-hand glove, and without it my left-hand glove (writing) is little use to anyone. My rational mind presumed that setting aside full-time teaching would allow me to become a full-time writer, but that isn’t the way it works for me. Teaching doesn’t hinder my writing practice; it fuels it.
Now I stand on the threshold of a new teaching job, and I’ve never felt more grateful for my vocation. I’m equally grateful that I gave it up. You never know how good a glove is till it’s gone. And then when you get it back . . . well, it feels like a miracle.
After Renaissance Kids, we went to our second Maine wedding: this one for Chelsea and Corey. I’ve never in my life attended such a marvelously orchestrated ceremony. I mean that literally: they had an orchestra, brass, a full chorus performing an original composition (we got to sing!). Every single verse of “Be Thou My Vision” had a different accompaniment. The bride and groom? Well, they were even more fun than the music.
The weddings presented ample opportunity for reunions with friends, and over the next few days we squeezed in more get-togethers. A chief perk of our return is proximity to Dan, Becca, and Ellie.
Next on the calendar: reunion with my family in Philadelphia. But I’ll save that story for another day.