Gems on Park

Nothing beats an evening stroll with your family after a busy day at work or running errands around town. Over a year ago, we knew how good life was when we walked the baby along Lake Merritt’s path in Oakland under the twilight sky. Nowadays, when we get a chance to stroll, it’s down Alameda’s Park Street where we see the competing cafes housing chess-gamers, cramming students and relaxed readers. There’s an evening karate class with parents waiting patiently for their kids’ final “aaiiiii-yyaaa” of the night. Next door the neighborhood kids are hanging out at Quickly that serves fried food and boba tea.

Our favorite stop is another block down at 1355 Park. It is a quirky place with a cart of books and a rack of clothes out near the sidewalk to lure people into the store as effectively as a brightly lit “Open” sign. This store is called Blue Rectangle, a name I will never remember but will always know it is simple. Blue Rectangle always pulls me in with the front-counter used cd rack. On the back wall is a projection of some random black and white movie that I never have time to watch except only to appreciate that they are projecting some random black and white movie. And despite all these cool racks and bowls and displays of music and film, the best part about the Blue Rectangle is the books. In particular, the basket of free children’s books for every kid that walks in with an adult.

The last time the family strolled in there, I was feeling much appreciation for the store’s straightforward concept as a mild-mannered 2nd hand shop.So I skidded my finger across a bookshelf until it found a gap between books. Tucked between seemingly larger “normal” sized books was a baby of a book called “The Prophet” by Lebanese American Khalil Gibran. This book written in 1923 has been on my short list ever since Saul Williams tweeted about it shortly after the Haiti earthquake struck. I bought the book and brought it home feeling like I had discovered a rare gem.

The book has found a new home in the side pocket of my car and I find myself drawn to this particular passage:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Thanks to J as our guest blogger!


Carol & Stacy said...

Such a true and beautiful passage. Our children are of us but they don't belong to us. They picked us to give them a great start and support them through their life experiences.
New follower from the blogfrog.
Great blog. Check us out when you get a chance.

Carol & Stacy said...

We are so excited to let you know you have won a blogging award! Keep up the great writing. Love your topics.
Go here http://www.intentionalconsciousparenting.com/2010/10/we-won-award.html to see your award.