I’m back with a thought.
Quite a number of weeks ago I read an article on a fellow bloggers post about ‘treading lightly’ – in the environmental sense of course. But that got me thinking about that phrase in another sense.
When my sisters and I were little, before we discovered pop music, we loved to dance around the living room to my Dad’s ‘classical’ record collection in our dressing up clothes. I remember Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Variations’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ particularly. While in my imagination in those moments I was a prima ballerina, Dad called us – with great affection – his ‘fairy elephants’.
It wasn’t until years and years later when I went to watch a professional ballet performance that I realised that ballerinas don’t glide around noiselessly. Gracefully, yes, but their footfall is audible, even loud at times, especially when they are on pointe. Now this maybe because the stage and the sound wasn’t the best – I wasn’t watching at the Royal Opera House. But I almost laughed to myself in the middle of the performance remembering my childhood fairy elephant dancing days. After all everybody has to land.
I’ve spent a lot of energy in trying to erase footprints I’ve made through my life. See, I’m good at being an elephant. Usually with my mouth I manage to make clumsy elephant sized mistakes. Thoughtless words, words spoken in anger, misjudged comments, plain stupid comments, I could go on – guilty of them all. I’m so glad I wasn’t a teenager with access to Facebook, text and twitter as I would be one of those with comments left to haunt me eternally. Burning diaries is so much easier.
But, if I could get rid of the elephant and just be fairy-like, would I really want to be invisible, just a little bit of sparkle, leaving no trace that I’d ever been there? Goodness that isn’t attributed to anything. Actually it turns out I am no good at being a fairy, tooth fairy that is…totally delinquent in fact. I think the low point for the tooth fairy that serves this house may have been taking coins out of a child’s piggy bank to put under the pillow or forgetting about a tooth every night for weeks until the child said at breakfast time, ‘Why don’t you just hand me the money now?’!
So, where am I going with this. I’m a big believer in treading lightly when it comes to the environment, even though we have a long way to go in this house on that score, but when it comes to life in general I want to have slightly heavier – but not crushing – feet. Fairy elephant feet. One footstep at a time, making little differences to those around, without fear of leaving a mark. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes for as long as the life I’m given, but there’s too much at stake to not take any steps at all. I’m not talking about trying to be good, but taking hold of who I am. Living it out for the sake of the one who has forgiven every single elephant-sized mistake.