We stand at the top of the John Hancock building in Chicago, stare down at the toy cars moving along Lake Shore Drive. It’s a Lego city with matchbox cars and pretend water from the bathtub. There’s a Barbie swimming pool on the top of a Lego building (do you see it there in the corner?) and I stand there knowing it’s real but feeling oddly like a giant person. I’m Godzilla and the city is pretend and any moment I will take a step and squash it all. Watch me lift my foot! But when I do, I lose my balance and step far away from the window because I’m not Godzilla and the building I stand in is real and I took the 45 second elevator ride to the top that proves it.
The city takes my breath away. I know it’s all concrete and right angles and gray and brown and processed. But maybe that’s the amazing part in a way. People made this, made these buildings to touch the sky. And here I stand, in midair, looking down at all those people, all those cars holding all those people with all their stories. They all have stories, don’t they?
My girl is nervous in the city – the sirens, the horns, the bustling across busy streets, all those revolving doors. Nothing stays still long enough for her to figure it out. Each time we enter an elevator she grabs us all for fear we’ll be crushed by the doors. I watch her as we enter the hotel, relief lowers her shoulders. She needs space for her soul to breathe and she can’t find it in the city. She’s glad we’re only visiting.
I marvel at my fascination with the whole thing. I’m an introvert wearing extrovert’s skin. I smile here, feel the pulse, settle in to the pace. I come alive with the movement, the lights, the color. Things are happening here. Opportunities feel touchable here. But possibility can talk the ears off a billy goat, so after a few days, I want to crawl under the bed and hide. I want to cradle my head in my hands and breathe the quiet in deep all the way to my fingertips.
We fly away and now I stand alone, boots on sugar, January wind whips straight through the quiet. I’m not Godzilla now; I’m tiny, mini, small. I stand at the edge of the world and wonder how anyone who comes here could ever bring themselves to leave.
Because just look at that. I am microscopic, invisible. I want to fill my soul up with beauty enough to last a week, find that water blue on a paint chip and color the world Sea. The kids are back in Charlotte with Mom and my husband stands where he’s been for the last ten years – right by my side. We say nothing for a long time because what is there to say? How could I have ever felt alive in the city when there’s this? I am sand-small tiny, in awe of this beauty. I feel myself relax with the pace of this place.
Yes, that’s what it is – the pace. Pace implies rhythm, and rhythm implies movement and isn’t that what we need? I need both city-life and sea-living and all the familiar things of home that come in between. I am not all introvert quiet or all extrovert energy. I am small and big, loud and quiet, thankful. I am not just one thing, don’t fit in the corner of a box. Live in your seasons, take the breaths you need, keeps eyes wide open when you can and close them tightly when you need to. This life is a gift and the giver is God and we live full in each season as it comes.