We’ve done a lot of traveling lately with the holidays and the long winter weekends. By traveling I mean riding in the car within a fifty-mile radius of our house. There are many hours to fill when no one’s in school and no one’s at work. Charlie has taken a liking to music over videos in the car (hallelujah) and Paul Simon is our current tuneage…a welcomed reprieve from Baby Einstein. Remember when classical music wasn’t associated with wild animals and puppets?
We were road-tripping to a discovery center about an hour from our house to wander away those morning hours when track one rolled over to track two and “Graceland” filled the van. This was a particularly vivid made-for-tv moment. The sun came out and we cruised along and turned it up loud and Jody and I sang like we were young again. All the children clapped because they don’t know when you’re not in tune. “I am following the river down the highway through the cradle of the civil war”…Appropriate for us Tennesseans.
I love this song for many reasons. It homage to the south, it’s thrumming beat, it’s rambling feel. But I like the message too. I like the idea that we’re all “pilgrims and poor boys and families” on our way somewhere that will accept us no matter what. I like the idea that “sometimes when I’m falling, flying or tumbling in turmoil” there is a place that waits like your own bed at the end of a long day.
I realize this is what I crave and construct for Charlie. A world that will receive him regardless of expectations, of fitting the bill, or actions over being. I want a world filled with grace to usher him along like a raft on the lazy river. Sure there are bumps and waves, but they are only hiccups and no one’s in a hurry and we’re all just here to have a good time. I know of course, that the world is not one big Graceland. Even Graceland wasn’t Graceland. Elvis knew.
But we are always searching for the soft spot in life, the place that we will finally be at ease. I do not think we can always find that here, that Graceland at its best is beyond this world. It’s the ethereal joy C.S. Lewis always spoke of. But I do believe there are pieces of it. Road signs. Rest areas. Deep breaths and kind souls. Loud music and sun. I will pray for these moments for our family and for “otherworldly” acceptance of Charlie. And I will turn up the tunes and let them see all my wishes for them. They need to see a mom who dreams big so they can too.
“For reasons I cannot explain there’s some part of me wants to see Graceland…”
Thanks Meg for letting me recap a truly awesome weekend moment.