I was recently back home visiting my parents with my kids. We had taken an afternoon trip to run a couple of errands and drove past a bowling alley. It sparked a memory -
"Hey! I've been bowling there before! It was... a date, I think. With a group of people."
Teagan asked who I was on that date with.
And I couldn't remember. I don't remember any of the people that were there.
I was suddenly flooded with this strong desire to somehow express to my nine year old daughter that she's going to have the same thing happen. There will be boys and girls and romances and friendships that come and go, ebb and flow. There will be experiences that will be permanently imprinted on her brain. And there will be things that feel like life and death in that moment but are actually just... a fleeting passing of time.
I don't know that it is possible for any child or teenager to understand that idea.
I recently discovered The Liturgists and enjoyed a nice 30 minute meditation on my living room floor to their first offering - Vapor. And it talks about how, in the giant grand true scheme of life, difficult moments are just passing bits of vapor. It might feel as though our world is crumbling around us, that life is over, that there is no way to continue on. But even the hardest things are simply... vapor. A fleeting passing moment of something difficult.
But even the positive things are vapor. We talk about how time is so fleeting. The kids are growing so fast, don't blink or they will be gone. We have to savor and hold on to the positive things because they also pass and dissipate like vapor.
That guy I was on a date with at that bowling alley? Vapor.
I have found that there are times that thinking about difficult things as vapor has been very comforting. Recent job changes in my workplace... vapor. A feeling that I don't trust someone... vapor. A child having a hard time listening... vapor. A cranky moment between me and my husband... vapor.
My hope is that my children will be able to grow up and let go of things. To recognize that some things are minor, some things are hurts you just have to survive through, to know that they have people who will love them through all of it. I know I can't protect them from the hard things in life. But I also hope that teaching them how to handle the disappointments and frustrations and heartaches will strengthen them when they face those inevitable hard times.
Because truly... it is all just vapor.