Walk slow and notice

The plane lands and you have a connection to make in a city you’ve never see the ground of. Two or three times your body has hovered close here: once in a suburb, twice at this airport where you taxi now toward the bulding. A bell chimes and all at once, as if a symphony, you all unclick seat belts, reach forward for purses and backpacks, stand to feet with heads bents, eyes facing down under short ceilings, waiting.

How strange it is for you to be alone. Always those boys are attached to you. Always you are the one gathering misplaced playmobile pieces, always cars in the row behind you. Always a baby in a carrier, a child holding onto your hand. Always three bags and plans for the next destination: how to move forward. Always someone is hungry, thirsty, always dirty hands, diapers or quick hustles to the potty.

And here you are. The emptiness around your arms is softer than you have words for. You think, What did I do, once, when my arms were free and I stood alone among strangers? You think: Music. And there on that plane, you pull the wires through fingers, place buds in the your ears. The music shocks you. You’ve heard it before, but lately, so diluted. Watered by voices and calendars and doings. And here, the older woman in her hand-knitted purple shawl looks into your eyes, as if she knows: Oh, her face says, you are alone. Beautifully alone. You smile back. Yes, your eyes answer. Yes.

There are signs of who you’ve become. Perhaps if strangers looked close enough, they’d recognize the extra skin that folds your belly, the tired eyes, the good ache that comes from giving yourself to children. But here, as one by one the people lift their heads, set eyes toward their destination, walk the open path, you know you don’t know what they carry. They don’t know what you are lightened by.

Then, your turn to move. You step into an aisle. How many asles have you walked in your life, sweet Baptist girl? Always walking aisles toward a calling. Always coming forward pulled by grace. And here, you step into this space, arms empty, one bag, a book, this music. You turn it up louder than comfortable. You want it to burn a little.

You move off the plane into the long tunnel and the warm air rushes at you, past you, light skimming your surface on every side. And you are alone in that tunnel, illuminated.

You walk into the maze of spaces and people, all of it moving toward you.

Walk slow, the Voice whispers.

Walk slow and notice.

And every place you step is shimmering, every face is the image of God.


Filed under the Praying Life

12 Responses to Walk slow and notice

  1. Adriel Booker

    Oh, I don’t want to rush my years with the littles… but you are describing my dream right now. Enjoy the strange and wonderful.

  2. Slowing down is one of the most difficult things to do in America, but it is also one of the most worthwhile. Great post!

  3. I’m so lucky I got to wake up to this post in my email this morning…!! Micha, it is beautiful. xo

  4. Lovely post Micha. This reminds me of River Jordan’s talk at the Festival of Faith and Writing about her Praying for Strangers story. It’s important to remember that when I think of the “world being charged with the grandeur of God,” that includes the people around me.

  5. Amy

    I read this as I was working my way through the PACKED security line at Denver International. I should preface my comment by saying that I am now one of “those” passengers who flies all the time and thinks thy everyone in the airport is my personal attendant. I know, whoda thunk it. I had a lady who cut in front of me twice and I was getting really annoyed. Through your words, God reminded me to “notice” her. She was frazzled and had a pained look on her face. I started to pray for her and my attitude changed. When she was picking up her bag from the security conveyor it caught on the box in front of me and spilled everywhere. I was able to help her pick it up and smile sincerely when I told her it would get better and peaced her out. Thank you for your words today. They made a huge difference for me.

  6. Exquisite, Micha. Just need to rest here.

  7. Very nice piece of writing! I enjoyed this late
    Morning peek into your world!

  8. tara pohlkotte

    my daddy was a baptist minister…these asles, you spoke to me. just learning this freedom, even while still needing to me the lamp post for them to come home to. so glad to have found your words.

  9. Rachel Stone

    You’ve captured so well that feeling of freedom when a busy mom gets away from her children for a few days. It was so lovely to meet you at #ffwgr, Micha!

  10. sarahdpark

    ” You turn it up louder than comfortable. You want it to burn a little.” I do this…when I’m driving in the car by myself. You capture this mixture of new, unfamiliar feelings so well. It reminds me of a part in Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions when she goes out sans baby. She describes feeling like Zorba the Greek, dancing with hands wild over her head at the freedom. And then by the end of the evening, desperate for her baby again. At least I think that’s how it goes… It’s been years since I read it. I may be conflating it with my own experience!

  11. birthjoy


  12. Pingback: Dishes and Litany and all that Beauty | mama:monk

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