October has been chaos. Not a little chaos; a lot of chaos. And I haven’t handled it by writing; I’ve handled it by avoiding writing. I don’t have one long story to tell, because the chaos has crowded out lengthy experiences that are worthy of being retold. Instead, I’ve mined the month of October for a few glimpses of significant moments; times when I’m sure I am where I am supposed to be.
Bowling with John
It’s the final countdown of our hour-long bowling game, and in three minutes they will shut down our lane. It’s John’s turn, and he’s slowly walking up to the line. I hand him his ball and tell him this is his last turn, so he’d better make it count. He swings the ball by his knee like the pendulum of a grandfather clock, and finally lets go. It cruises down the hardwood floor and knocks down all but three pins. The screen above our head flashes a warning sign of sixty seconds. “I’ll go grab your ball and then you have one last turn,” I tell him. “We only have a minute!”
I pass him the ball and he starts swinging again, faster this time. He releases it down the lane and, to everyone’s delight, he gets a spare. We cheer and he lights up with the joy of victory. We’re all gathered around him and he’s clapping furiously, and then it dawns on us: he gets an extra turn. I race back to the retrieval and hand him the ball, but I’m too late — the lights have dimmed. It doesn’t matter, because John is glowing. “Throw the ball anyway, John,” Mike instructs him. “You earned it.”