The Line

img_1744I’m done. Start over. Do not cross. This changes everything. I’m dividing me and you. This is the end. There are times when drawing a line is the only way we can move on.

We heard of a teacher who while grading essays would draw a line across the text when he couldn’t read anymore. If you were lucky, that mark was at the end of your paper, but more often it was midway through – the line was where he stopped because he couldn’t stand to read another sentence. Harsh criticism, but who among us hasn’t felt that lately. I want to draw a line on election day and hope that our heads will clear and normal life can resume.

Some lines represent personal changes I want to make. Over the last week I ate too much and exercised too little. Regretting those poor choices, I’ll do better today and build on it from there. I’ll clean out my closet vowing it will continue to look this roomy forever. Heartfelt resolutions, consciously made so I can improve.

Some lines we face saying, “everything after this will be different.” Having children is one of those. We used to joke that having a baby was like someone had parked a honking truck in our house: normal life could not proceed because of the noise and smell. Moving is another example: whether across town or across the country, your life is completely rearranged.

Some lines we don’t recognize at the time. When you get married, it seems like you’ll just continue the relationship you’ve started. But living life together with shared decisions, challenges, and joys forges a unit that wasn’t there before.

We define space we claim as our own with lines. I remember wanted to literally draw a crayon line in the back seat of the car to compel my brother to stay on his side. Fences and gated enclaves are our adult versions.

Big goals appear as finish lines on the horizon. Train for a marathon, study for an advanced degree, win the World Series (looking’ at you, Cubs!). Once achieved, we should be thrilled, satisfied, finished. But we find that lofty goals like these are merely markers on a continuing path where we are never truly done.

It’s a new week, so it seems like a good time to draw a line, hit the reset button, and start fresh.

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