Before I Die.....
At some point during the summer a local youth group in our neighborhood modified two sides of their building into a chalkboard template. It was an interesting concept. Two large chalk boards with lines and the words "Before I Die I Want To" pre-printed on them and a large basket of chalk. Every week or so they'd erase what had been written and the boards would fill right back up.
As is human nature, some of the things were rude, crude, or simply written to make fun of the boards. Other things showed the writer's soul, shed light on how they'd been hurt or wronged in their lives or the things that they truly felt in their hearts.
I found myself looking at some of the things that were written and trying to picture the person who wrote them. For instance, one person wrote, "Before I die I want to move to Chicago." Really? That's it? I wondered if that's how far that person could dream, 4 hours from our city, if they were so trapped here and that was their real quest in this lifetime. Or was I just looking at this on a deeper level, over thinking once again? I wasn't looking at what they wrote in a judgmental way, it simply made me reflect on the other people who passed by and felt compelled to participate in this project. We all have our stories and our paths and we all have what's important to us at any given time. Right now, Chicago is important to that person. It made me think about the book The Prophet and how each and every time I read it different parts speak to me, how what's happening in my life dictates what words float off the pages.
I thought a lot about those boards this summer for some reason. They've taken them down now, but before they did the boys and I walked over one evening before dinner. I wanted to see what my sons would write, see what was important to them at that moment.
Taking a few minutes to read what others wrote.
Greyson went first. I love that he was so careful not to mess up anyone else's work.
Greyson - Before I die I want to Play in the NFL.
Owen was up next and the very last available line was on the top. A balancing act to lift him and not touch the board, while holding a dog on a leash.
Owen - Before I die I want to set a record.
There weren't any lines left but the boys insisted I write something. So I got down on the ground while holding two leashes and wrote something I'd been thinking about lately. I struggle with self worth, with feeling like I deserve all of the amazing things I have in my life, with feeling like I'm truly special. So I wrote, "Before I die I want to know they knew how special they are." (Tell the grammar police to cut me some slack my hands were full.) They asked right away who the "they" referred to. I told them that the "they's" in my life already know. We started to walk away and Greyson said that was the best one on there and Owen reached for my hand. Smiles from mom. I don't want the people I love to struggle with the feelings I do. When I die I want to know that I did everything I could so that "they" feel like the gifts they are.