“Relax” — perhaps not your first title for this image.
How long has this homely garden gnome kissed the dirt? Someone seems pretty lax in their landscaping.
Lax can mean slipshod. Slapdash.
Lax also denotes loosened muscles and limbs. Deepened ease.
Perhaps it’s a continuum?
A dear friend is throwing a party. She wants my help.
Guests will retell their conversion experience, 3 minutes per person.
An artist assigned to each table will take notes on their stories.
- ~20 minutes for listening
- ~25 minutes to create something, in response
- ~5 minutes to present it … publicly
Large room, long guest list.
Her request—seemingly impossible—suggests … extraordinary possibility.
Can it be done?
Keen attention and presence must marry crunch-time spontaneity.
Seat-of-the-pants is not how I roll.
Relax … how?
The party-room vibrates with expectation.
Pacing, I roll my neck and shoulders. Must lighten up, loosen my mind, let the nerves go lax.
I’d drop right now like a jazz dancer, collapse face-down, if I could, like the garden gnome—preferably under a table—let everyone carry on without me.
Gnome comes from an ancient Greek word, meaning “to know.” Despite my fear, I know grace has my back.
I choose a table. Memorable stories unspool.
Afterward, we artists retreat with our notes to another room while the guests eat.
Help me help me help me
25 minutes evaporate.
I cradle my efforts: the distillation of 5 stories rich with surprise and hope, rife with my cross-outs, arrows, and asterisks. My version is slapdash, yet deeply felt.
I teach the crowd the refrain, and we speak it aloud between each section:
“You were born from God’s longing. And here you are.”
They hear it. I hear it. Together, we relax into the impossible.
What is a face plant but a dance,
staged alongside possible ruin,
another garden-variety hero,
toppled, among the shrubs,
clownish, inept. Unarmed.
Face-down is one nosedive
prayer embodies: the sudden
gravity, slapstick’s kissing cousin.
Practice pratfalls. Lean into the spill,
each bruise an inside turn, toward grace.
What helps you relax into the impossible?