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Location: Illinois, United States

I'm a junior English/Philosophy major who's looking forward to my senior year and looking back on the path that led me here

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

So I'm at Aqua Pools yesterday with the Reppmanns, and I'm excited about hanging out in the water, excited that I have a working bathing suit, excited and content with my ever-growing relationships with Tony and Zoe. Content. Comforted. Tony and I are hanging out in the 4' pool, which he can hang out in as long as he has someone to hang onto every once in a while. I'm happy to be hung on. Tony lunges into my arms, we laugh, and he swims to the side of the pool, getting ready for another lunge.

Then I feel an umistakable, unbelievable, and unexpected surge of pressure to the, ahem, side of my lower extremities. I yelp, turn around, and there's this freckly, snickering boy behind me, about Tony's age, with his hand extended like a lobster claw.

"That," I replied sternly, "was not cool. No, no, NO."

I tell Karen later, and we laugh in astonished annoyance and keep our eyes out for the little bugger, who is running around in green shorts and a sheer white sporting shirt. Which is a little presumptuous to me - why buy a shirt to go swimming in? When you're five? I can understand a t-shirt, something that you find at the bottom of the drawer, but this was a nylon shirt with black racing stripes along the arms. Prissy? Whatever it was, it did not make the boy any more endearing to me or my backside.

I tell this as a marker of the things that happen to delight and astonish us in the midst of waiting for good things to happen, in the midst of looking for that one great thing that you think will make all the doldrum grit and small annoyances worthwhile, like they're part of some overall plan for epiphany-like surprises. I've always thought that falling in love, or finding your vocation, should come as a surprise, some huge bang that makes all the rest of life fall together, like blocks or puzzle pieces or something. Not that I've fallen in love - I'm wondering if it's actually a falling, if fulfillment and real life, like grace, come instead in small recognizable moments, like when Tony and I were laughing together in the pool and I was both completely in the moment and completely aware that I was having a great time. The more and more that I hang out with little kids, I find that I'm becoming less needy in relationships, in projects and hopes for my future.

This might be one of those "let the little children come unto me" things.

This might be another working-out of grace in my life, and the lives connected to mine - that I'm being freed up to love and be loved, to be affectionate and silly and serious, to be myself, more openly and more securely.

If some little boy had pinched me in a pool five years ago, I'd write a sarcastic poem and read it to my friends in the lunchroom. Now I'm writing sermonish blog entries.

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