A house was being built in my backyard. To my 5 year old way of seeing, it was giant. A real door with two real windows faced front; a real shingled roof, four wood sided walls and two more windows enclosed the house. But the best part? An entire wall with a green chalkboard for me to play school.
My dad’s dad built this for me. Me. He used all reclaimed materials from other torn down construction. It even had a beautiful hardwood floor. Grandfather loved to make things and he made them with excellence. I still remember walking into the finished playhouse as the grown ups called it. At 5 the height of the ceiling was so far away I felt the immensity of the single room. The strong smell of fresh paint and resurfaced floor boards was somehow comforting. But gazing at the wall of chalkboard was what inspired awe. The brand new white chalk lying in the tray beckoned me. All the ideas of what I could do seemed to wash over me all at once.
I grabbed hold of my Grandfather around his knees and hugged him so hard he swayed a little from the force. I told him thank you and then ran in the house, into my bedroom. I imagine my Grandfather and Dad were standing there bewildered but it made sense when a moment later I came running back out with an armful of stuffed animals.
Grandfather opened the playhouse door, held it wide and said, “School is in session!”
How did he know?
(an Easter photo circa 1961)
I spent hours teaching my students their ABCs and singing songs to them; acting out what I had learned in Kindergarten each day. I used that chalkboard to write my letters, ever so slowly, so my students could see how they were made; writing numbers the same, slow way; turning to ask if they could see alright. I was sharing what I was learning along the way.
(chalkboards + me = magnetic attraction; 1962)
So much can be said of the sweet knowing of the man who was my Grandfather. I’ll save that for another time.
It’s fun to reflect on this wonderful memory and to see the common thread that has run through my life these 53 years later. I have consistently loved learning. I have consistently loved sharing what I’ve learned (not always appreciated or graciously delivered; but I digress) Best of all, I have my grandparents’ chalkboard hanging in our tiny house.
We all have threads woven into the fabric of our being; evidence of our unique make up. Sometimes we lose sight of those threads that have been a part of us since our personality started to show itself. When we lose sight of the common threads that make us who we are, we can often lose our way.
Is that you today? Have you lost a sense of who you are? What makes you, You?
Life can be so full of doing for others that we get distracted from the threads that are life giving to us. I want to be clear; I don’t think this life is all about figuring out what we each need and want. But I do think our journey here is for a purpose. Gaining a sense of that purpose can be found in the common threads woven through our lives.
How can you gain that sense of purpose, a sense of self, if you don’t know where you lost it?
Great question! You go adventuring! Exploring! Excavating!
In the coming few days I’m going to share a new resource that can help you in this adventure of re-discovery and connection.
You don’t want to miss out! If you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, please do that now so you’ll stay in the know for the next step in this Grand Adventure!