The other day Liam pointed to the peach square at the bottom edge of this block and asked, "Why did you put this here?"
My explanation was ready, "Because the unexpected adds interest. I don't want everything to be perfect. It's better when some parts don't fit the pattern."
As I worked on my next Ikat block, nestling into the predictable patchwork squares, the tidy angles and soothing rhythm of the colors and fabrics, I wondered... could I say the same about our life?
This June our family has been riding a rollercoaster of possibility. We were hoping for one outcome, an acceptance letter for Brandon to attend university. Instead, our preferred plan was dashed along with our back-up plan, all in one fell swoop. What followed was an intense week of research, which revealed first more bad news about his college prospects and then the surprising chance for an immediate and significant move.
The dust has settled. For now, we're staying right here, working on our plans for the future - yes - but mostly maintaining status quo for another year. I am having trouble coming to terms with this, in view of what almost was.
When I think about that little peach square, it signifies anomaly. It doesn't belong, it doesn't fit, it deviates. It is unexpected.
It reminds me of the language we studied earlier this year, the one we are no longer pursuing. Our plans have changed.
It reminds me of half-finished degrees and that house we almost bought before this one and the way I trained for so many years to become a ballet dancer in Europe. Dreams pursued and then released don't quite fit the trajectory of our life story. These anomalies are unconnected to our ultimate path and sometimes incoherent to our contented present.
Do they add interest and sparkle, like that peach square, or do we hold them at arms length with regret, shame or denial?
This I know: anomaly is not tragedy. Tragedy we know quite well, dear reader. Tragedy deserves regret, sometimes shame and always grief. But anomaly just is. Life can't be perfect. It can't always flow along seamlessly from one intention to the next. Sometimes we go the wrong way, pursue the path that ends in a hedge. This is human.
If I can find a way to appreciate these anomalies like an errant square of peach fabric, won't I be lucky? Won't I be wise.