Capturing Grace

Mar 03, 2020

My daughter's composition book

How a recent encounter whisked me back down a painful memory lane and allowed me to find what is true — healing and possibility


Have you ever glanced upon something that is seemingly mundane, a part of your everyday existence, but suddenly you see something extraordinary? I love that. It can literally be as simple as a morning sunbeam shining through a window hitting a vase of flowers at just the right moment. It’s like capturing a slice of grace.

That happened to me recently when I walked by my dining room table at home and caught a glimpse of my daughter True’s composition notebook for school. You know, the hard covered black and white speckled book we all had at some point — the one that isn’t particularly extraordinary and can be found anywhere.

And yet, ordinary can be extraordinary.

Each night she lays it there as a reminder to grab it on her way out to class. For some reason, it caught my eye and made me take pause. Somehow, this time it all looked so different. Somehow, it grabbed ahold of me and lured me down memory lane — my mind flooded.

School days. Each September; new school supplies, fresh start, clean slates and do-overs…infused with I can do it spirit!

Each year I mustered my courage to try again. I took my seat at the front of the class, stretched my eyes and heart in the hopes that I would be seen. This year I will be focused. This year I will be accepted by the cool group of kids. This year it will all be different. Until it wasn’t — which usually only took about a week and I would be sitting in the back of the class, head down, trying to do anything possible to be invisible. And the invisibility spell I cast upon myself succeeded as the system passed over me, and pushed me through from grade to grade until I left at 15.

It wasn’t until years later that I found out that I was severely dyslexic, which had contributed significantly to my inability to read or write. It also affected my speech. Meanwhile, all of those years I just thought I was ‘stupid’, floating throughout life like a deer caught in the headlights. Adrenaline ran the ship. Life was reactive, not proactive. It was all I knew.

I didn’t live in the moment. Hell, I wanted out of the moment. Why am I sharing all of this?

Because if you’ve ever felt ‘less than’ in any way in your life…I want to remind you of a few things: 

We learn differently.

We blossom at different times.

We shine in our differences.

It wasn’t that long ago that I lived in fear in almost every moment. But I see things differently now. And walking by this composition book the other day and seeing what my daughter had written on its cover, made me realize I had in fact done something right. I landed here in this moment and could hold onto its beauty.

Name: True

I want to be true to myself to find truth and to love truly.

School: Now

Be here now. Learn from this moment because it is actually all we really have.

Grade: Time

The rewards of time — having time to relish, rest, explore, live, love, breathe. Nothing beats time — the time to find yourself, find your tribe, your passions and to complete your soul journey.

Many who know me have heard me say before how my daughter saved me…it’s true (pun intended). I know that’s a lot to put on someone. Yet, she is my true north, my teacher, my moral compass, my heart, my joy and my sage. She also reflected those things in myself and allowed me to claim them for me.

Seeing her wise-beyond-her-years words on that notebook casually sitting on the edge of the table, made my soul smile. It made me breathe into the possibility of our collective healing. It made me believe in myself…and that I could even take my seat at the head of the class again, no longer hiding underneath the cloak of invisibility.

Oh, out of the mouth of babes!

 ~ Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock


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