A trip down memory lane … literally


By Sarah Callahan
Gray Space Graces


At the time of writing this, we’ve recently had a few days of reprieve from the brutal chill of winter. I was able to get out for a long walk and set out from my doorway with no plan in mind. I found myself walking toward my childhood home, which is only about a mile away from my apartment. Although it was January and springtime is still a bit distant, when the temperature jumps from -10 to 40 degrees, it sure feels like spring no matter what month it is. The change of seasons, and being in nature, has always made me feel reflective.

I tried my hardest to be observant. As the sun was setting, I looked up and noticed the very tops of the trees and how they soaked up and boasted the last glow of sunlight for the day. I listened to the birds settling back into their nests for the evening. I felt the crisp, but not harsh, breeze against my face. It was a beautiful moment. As my past home came into view, I was reminded that those were the same trees that stood throughout my childhood, rooted in that very place where I ran and played under them at 4 years old. They were still there as I walked by them at 25 years old. The same thought struck me about my childhood home. I took a moment to pause and survey the house. I thought about all the memories I had in each space — the many family dinners in the dining room, the “plays” I would put on for my parents in the living room, learning my grandmas’ bread and cookie recipes in the kitchen, all the games of hide-and-seek with my siblings.

I thought about how content I remember being as a child (although, my parents may remember things a bit differently). For sure, the latest and greatest toys that I saw in catalogs and on commercials enamored me, but I was quite delighted with my life. (I will pause here to note that I am extremely lucky for the upbringing I received and I am greatly appreciative of it. Tragically, many cannot relate to this version of childhood. I am sharing my own experience in hopes that it may bring to light some spiritual or theological insights for readers.)


I reflected on how often in my life now I think about what is next rather than being grateful for the present. When thinking about gray spaces, they require that we sink into the present moment, the present tension, the present in-between. There is so much beauty that we can find there. When watching my nieces and nephews playing together, they are immersed in the storyline or game they have created. They are committed to the situation in which they find themselves. I know that I could stand to be more childlike in my contentedness and in my attentiveness to the present moment. I can work to better lean into tensions that I come across in my everyday life rather than avoiding or attempting to escape them. It is those moments of in-between and confusion that make life meaningful! I can learn to take a deep breath, to wrestle with and delight in, all that makes life gray, all that makes life beautiful.

(Sarah Callahan is social media coordinator for the Diocese of Davenport.)

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