I think it means something different to all of us.
I remember hearing a story of a man who had been wrongfully imprisoned. Twenty years later he was released and set free. The interviewer asked him what he wanted to do now that he was out. His response?
To swim in a pool of water.
It touched me on some level. It gave me a glimpse into rigid imprisonment. The simplest desire, to swim in a pool, always out of reach, stopped by men and concrete and iron bars.
I often think of that man and his dream. I imagine that moment, him standing on the side of the pool looking down into the depths of pillowy liquid.
Does he cry when he sees it? Does he dip in a toe? Does he take a moment to breathe in the chlorine or listen to kids splashing? I hope not. In my mind he stops on the way home, finds the nearest pool and cannonballs in, fully clothed, with a whoop!
Because who knows when opportunities arise? Who knows when something will come up that will stop us in our tracks and imprison us in some way?
I scheduled an overdue preventative medical procedure this morning.
I had put it off for years. I was too nervous to call. Too nervous to go. I’m overweight, I have high blood pressure, what if I’m not a good candidate for anesthesia? What if they find cancer? What if this will start the downward spiral of health? Doctors appointments, hospital stays, uncomfortable conversations…what if?
The nurse on the other end of the line runs down a list of health issues. I am supposed to stop her every time I hear one that applies to me. True I have to stop her two or three times, but I hear all of the things I don’t have and I start to feel better. I hang up, with a scheduled appointment a month from now, and hop onto the scale. Hmm, ok not bad (well getting better anyway)! I head downstairs to make myself a tea and start writing.
I lean across my counter, blowing across the top of my mug, watching the steam mix with the sunlight streaming through my window. A rainbow near the fireplace catches my eye. I see two more on the fridge, and one on the door to the basement. I see short blocks of color strewn across paper towels and old homework. Blue sapphires dazzle my eyes and impossibly straight lines of green and red race across the ceiling and walls.
I look behind me. Owl, sphere and porcupine.
They were my Nana’s. I took them when she died, and they sit on the kitchen window sill watching the comings and goings of our family. I wonder if they feel imprisoned. They sit there motionless year after year, under appreciated and barely cared for.
I look again and see the dozens of rainbows sprinkled through the house. They reach the entire length from kitchen to living room.
I see those rainbows and I feel the weight of my worries dissipate. Years of fear and guilt for not taking better care of myself suddenly seem ridiculous to me. Why did I wait? Why did I imprison myself, why…
It doesn’t matter.
What matters is now. Today. Right now. This very second.
Do it. Whatever it is do it, and take care of yourself. Seek the freedom missing in your life.
Do it then find the rainbows scattered around you. Don’t look too far and don’t wait til after the storm is over. Sometimes they’re right there in the kitchen, from small pieces of glass, that catch the sunlight just right.
Owner Spowerks LLC