The Chase

Maybe 50% of the time, my life feels like a chase. Chase the dogs. Chase the kids. Chase the leaves into piles. Chase my thoughts into some working part of my brain, a corral where I can sort, tag, brand, butcher, give birth to, let out to pasture, as I see fit. Can you tell I’m back in Kansas? The livestock metaphors are riding strong. If only it was that easy—the sorting and sifting. Too often my thoughts get away from me. I am not in charge of them; they are in charge of me. Saint John the Solitary said, “It is the senses that are lower down which can chase away hateful thoughts…He judges those thoughts which have a passage into the heart.” If only I could chase my children back to sleep. I hear Gabriel now, just as I was hoping for another good hour about my own business.

All of the cousins on the Jantz side of things were together this morning at the park. What crazy bedlam! The mothers (my sisters and I) tried to keep our heads about us, but it seemed one or another of the happy kiddos was climbing a tree, sliding down a river bank, banging their head on an otherwise incredibly cool they-don’t-make-’em-like-they-used-to metal tornado slide (that’d be G), escaping across a bridge, rolling around in the dirt (that’d be J), racing and chasing, begging for a cinnamon candy (I find them a great incentive to get the boys to do what I want, occasionally), or generally evading the camera as Cammy tried to capture a shot or two.

According to the pre-installed dictionary on my computer, “chase” originated in Middle English and was based on the Latin captare, “continue to take,” from capere, “take.” I like that aspect of continuing to take or pursue. There’s no completing the chase. Okay, so obviously there’s an ultimate completion (read the beautifully written sci-fi Never Let Me Go for an interesting, if disturbing, take on that idea). Jonah asked me again today if I was going to die and if he was going to die. I am appreciative that he keeps death an active member of my consciousness. If being amidst six children under the age of six is exhausting and disorienting, it’s also a little exhilarating (provided enough sleep and caffeine have been secured). Delight comes into play. There’s also grief. Loneliness sometimes. A little danger. I don’t think a one of the cousins escaped the morning without a head bonk or unintentional hurt feeling or two; but I don’t think a one of them would have missed the morning for anything.

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