Kittens, Dreams and The Greatest Show

By Carissa Nevill
When I write, I use a pencil and a composition notebook. Pencils feel good on the paper and they add satisfaction to my attempts at creativity. It feels like I’m drawing and I suppose I am, in a sense. Tonight, I’m writing from the couch, where a dear little, gray kitten has wrapped herself around my neck like a mink stole. She is batting at my hand, trying to catch my pencil as it scratches across the paper. Quite awake now, she had been asleep while Joe and I watched The Greatest Showman on video. I love this movie. The music and cast and cinematography are all perfect together and paint a giant and magical picture, reminiscent of old Hollywood.

We all have our own “greatest show” and these lyrics have me thinking about mine:

“It’s everything you ever want. It’s everything you ever need.
And it’s here right in front of you. This is where you want to be.”

– “This Is the Greatest Show” – The Greatest Showman

I have been considering our last trip to the Bolivar Peninsula. We were there last July, a holiday I had planned with such zeal. We stayed in what looked like an Italian villa on a little canal near the Intracoastal Waterway. It was all beautiful. The romantic in me wants to remember the trip as perfect. In many ways it was, but sometimes I feel a little compunction when I think of it. There were issues, you see. Some sprang from the fact that I cannot please everyone in my family all of the time. Sad, but true. My wise dad once told me a story about a boy and his donkey, named Fanny. The end of the story involved the boy losing his “fanny” after trying to accommodate everyone in his path. I need to heed the message in that parable more often.

There were also financial stressors at that time which made me feel guilty about taking such a trip, but deposits had been made and “I REALLY wanted this vacation.” I dreamt it would be wonderful.

My dreams can be a little grandiose. Do you ever revisit your “perfect life” dream? You know the one from when you were little, when your “greatest show” wasn’t quite on the road yet? Maybe it’s a shiny treasure you keep tucked away in the safe, secret folds of your memory. Or, you might have dismissed it long ago. Did you forget about it altogether? I confess, I like to look in on mine from time to time. It is a lovely thing. Almost as lovely as my first kiss. Nearly as mesmerizing as the second movement of “The Emperor”. It is also impractical and highly improbable and it makes me giggle at my younger self because, bless its heart, that pretty little dream from my youth is nothing like my actual life!

My real life is complicated and messy and full of things I don’t like to do. Join the club? I often feel like I’m slogging through a big wave, clothed in a sweatshirt, jeans, socks and shoes, all the while dragging old tires and suitcases full of junk and heavy things in my wake. The sand is shifting under my feet, making me lose my footing.

Real life is real hard.

On the other hand, my life is full of breath-taking wonders that outshine that first dream. Watching my children grow into young, adultish people is a joy I didn’t see coming. This trip, they took the car and went to explore Crystal Beach on their own. When did they get old enough to do that? One of them a beauty, winning scholarships and heading to college soon, the other achieving things his dad and I never did and becoming completely amazing. Both of them so fun and funny and smart. Both of them getting ready to fly. I never knew I would derive such pleasure simply witnessing these two lovies of mine take their test flights out of our nest. It’s everything I ever wanted. Everything I never knew I needed, and it is exactly where I want to be. The Lord is so good, isn’t he?

Like yours, our circus can be dizzying. Even though it seems imperfect and difficult, it really is everything. It is right here, right now. I wouldn’t trade it. The slogging gets a little easier if I remember to leave the junk in trash barrel #86! And as I try to finish getting my thoughts into this notebook, the fluffy little clown draped under my chin grabs my hand with miniature, barbed paws, pulling it to her teeth for a tiny, ferocious bite. Kittens make amusing and spikey circus creatures.

Now, I’m dreaming of my next adventure on Bolivar. Who knows, maybe Joe and I will come by ourselves? We’ll be empty nesters soon and I’m looking forward to the next chapter with him.

To all of you who put up with visitors like my family and me: many, many thanks! I tip my hat to all of you who have rebuilt your lives after hurricanes and heartaches. You should know you’re covered in prayer from land-locked West Texas every time a big storm blows into the Gulf. We are glad you’re there to welcome us back each time we come.

Until then, this is the greatest show and it shall go on!


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