When Charlie started fifth grade on a Monday, payday was Tuesday. His backpack and those of his siblings was filled with supplies to last the school year. Everyone had a haircut and a new outfit. I had stretched the budget as far as it would go but there wasn't enough for Charlie's new shoes. He only had to wait one day I promised but he still cried. I remember when he was asleep, I painted his old Nike shoes white and re-did the lettering with my fine tipped artist brush, I'm not even kidding, even his cruddy shoe laces were washed and painted white. He was estatic in the morning and walked into his classroom with confidence. I felt like Cinderella's Godmother and reminded him it was only for one day. After school, I knew the illusion had been a success by his beaming smile and fast run to the car. The shoes were a mess! The paint had flaked and it looked like he had gone for a run in the creek. I knew his teachers noticed but it didn't matter as long as Charlie was happy. That evening, we went shopping together for new shoes.
I've been thinking about the different illusions we have in our lives and of others. There is a Chinese proverb that says something about everyone describes the elephant correctly depending on where you are standing. My sweet friend Kitty wasn't responding to my emails. I even told a friend about how worried I was that she was ignoring me. I prayed about it one night this week and dreamed that we were laughing together and I noticed in the dream that she wasn't aware of my emails. The next morning, I found the correct email and sent her a letter. She responded that she had felt very alienated from the group and thought I was mad at her!
illusion: the state or fact of being intellectually deceived or misled.
I cringe at the fact that I almost decided to stop talking to her if she didn't come to my Thursday evening party. She wrote that she'll be out of town on Friday and should pack Thursday night with her two small children. I'm going to use my heart more instead of my head with my friends, maybe paint rainbows and laugh when we turn a little flaky at the end of our lives and run through a creek.