I was out running last week before the sun came up (she says casually, as if it happens all the time and wasn't the first time she had done exercise on purpose in months) and I realized something that I usually realize when I get back to exercising after a break. It's time to start up a montage. You know the ones, they happen in the middle of movies when it's time to get the heroine through something that obviously takes time but doesn't look all that interesting in slow motion. Like a long wait, or getting fit for a fight (Rocky being the classic there), or making herself over into someone date-able (rom-coms can be predictable and silly but know how to do a good montage). It's what happens when the girl and the boy break up and they go off to do their separate things and learn to live separate lives before they run into each other and fall in love all over again. It's what happens while the babies grow up because babies are horrible actors and can't really carry a movie. It's the first heartbreaking and beautiful fifteen minutes of Disney's UP. I don't need to say more. You know what I am talking about.
For me montage time often occurs when the light begins to come back. When I leave work at 5pm and the sky isn't completely dark anymore. When I find the energy not just to get up and exercise, but to remember to set my clothes out the night before and charge my ipod. It's the music that does it of course. The key to any montage is the music.
Mates of State. Rearrange Us. Jigsaw.
Me: running at 6:30am and the sun isn't up yet.
flash to braiding J's hair, going slow, she is unhappy.
flash to her starting to walk, toddling, climbing, us laughing and encouraging
flash to me at the computer, typing with intelligently furrowed brow (blogging? paper writing? answering emails in a timely manner? hard to tell, but surely I am producing, productive at the computer!)
flash to a classroom full of divinity students, my hand is up and I am about to say something brilliant
flash to a sunny day, I'm reading outside
flash to Andrew playing guitar for J, me watching and smiling
flash to eating cake with our neighbors after the sun goes down
flash to me braiding J's hair, moving fast, she is thrilled
flash to me running at 6:30am, faster and fitter now.
and the sun is up.
I think about it as a montage because I am at that point in the year where I am all done anticipating. I can't put any more energy toward longing - for spring, for sunshine, for light upon waking, for a moment where nothing is due where no one is waiting for me to write back, to respond, to make breakfast, to show up and produce something of value in the role of consultant, employee, student, Godly Play teacher, friend. The beauty of my montage is that it is full of both moments where I am getting it done - whatever it is I need to do - and also the other ones, the ones that can be ruined by the longing for what is ahead. J's first steps, and my little family and our other extended families of friends, neighbors, parents and siblings - all the moments where we simply are with each other. They sink like stones in water, these simple moments of being, but if I give them the weight they deserve their ripples will carry me through the stress and excitement of all the many expectations I allow to be put, and willingly take, upon myself.
The thing about a montage is that it is all about the hero of the story. And in the end, she wins the race/boy/diet/wait/makeover/whatever. She wins the movie.
I just want to win through to spring.