All of life’s little pockets

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We had an interesting conversation with a casual friend in the coffee shop the other day that, incidentally, is where we typically solve all the world problems on a regular basis. In this case, equally as impactful, it was that he couldn’t find his car keys.  After watching him hunt around the bookstore and the chair he was sitting in, we couldn’t help but notice he had a lot of pockets he was checking as well – not only a coat that probably had eight or more pockets but also a multi-pocketed fishing vest underneath and most likely a shirt that had some as well; each one was noticeably bulging slightly with the necessities to get through the day.

In conversing with him as to how he had an upper percentile number of pockets (which to us, being entry level pocket people ourselves, was pretty cool), we learned that as a child he would go to the matinee on a Saturday afternoon where partway through the show the proprietor would shut down the movie and come out to the floor. He would then query the kids as to who might have a clothespin or a postage stamp and whichever kid produced such an item would get a prize. Of course, the benefits of an uber amount of pockets became readily apparent yet despite carrying around every possible permutation of knick-knackery a youngster could think of, this fellow failed to win anything other than perhaps a lifelong fixation of pocketry and all it could contain.

Later, feeling analogous, I was thinking that this is exactly how we raise our children; we put things in their metaphorical pockets as they grow: ‘don’t pick your nose’, ‘say please and thank you’ and ‘don’t talk to strangers’.  As they get older we add in ‘you will be exposed to drugs – let’s talk how you will react’, ‘treat people the way you expect to be treated’ and perhaps ‘it’s going to be all right, just give it time’. You don’t ever stop putting things in their pockets; as they age you might slip in over time the ‘joy of your new baby will eventually dull the pain of the birth’ or ‘you need to sit down with your mate and really talk’. Each child gets a fishing vest of life; you did, as did all the people before you and what your parents or influential people put in those pockets helped shape who you are today.

By the time we finished chatting with our friend, he had discovered that amongst this plethora of pockets he had a seldom used was a hidden inner pocket where his car keys rested safely, providing him a wave of relief. Most likely over your life, you have encountered or will encounter some curve balls or obstacles. You may have discovered, or may yet come to find, that you as well have a hidden inner pocket of some reserve of strength or knowledge to help you cope with the unexpected. It’s there, even if sometimes others may have to help you find and open it.

Finally, as our kids have kids, we get to add things to these fresh new pockets: sometimes life-shaping sage examples such as not being afraid of bugs or the dark. Then there is other little semi-harmless nuggets you may slip in when the parents aren’t around only to surface when we are safely back in Creston. That might be just a bit of payback from the joy of their childhood. Have a happy and safe holiday season!