"Two weeks from today we'll be in New York," I announced at breakfast, referring to our upcoming first ever Spring Break trip: a tour of American history sites via relatives on the East Coast. The girls' faces lit up and when I mentioned the Empire State building, I was instantly in my Grandfather's Ford station wagon, perched in the middle of the front bench seat, head strained beneath the rear view mirror. It was 30 years ago. I had never seen skyscrapers. Or taxis. I had never seen so many nationalities or such chaos. The city pulsed with energy that my 10 year old self could not photograph adequately.
But it was an inciting incident - the birthplace of my love for cities and photography. It would change everything and define my life.
I've had many. We all have. A book, a film, a conversation, an experience - moments which define the future, when nothing is ever the same again.
So I'm telling this to the girls to plant in them a seed of wonder. Maybe on our trip they will experience an inciting incident! It might be on Capitol Hill when they see the Senate and one day become a Senator. "I think mine will be in Philadelphia," says my oldest. They've heard me. I've got them thinking.
Because the thing is, I don't expect them to be aware of it when it happens. Maturity and soul-discernment take time. Only recently have I been able to recognize when I'm in an inciting incident moment. And oh! So thrilling to be aware that after this conversation, nothing will be the same, despite details - you just know. They are too young to know it now, but if they have eyes of wonder, perhaps they'll be more attentive.
Yesterday I hung out with my crying friend. Actually, I have many friends who cry, but Jenni and I have shed buckets around Northern Colorado. She starts to share something meaningful, touching, and her eyes glisten and then my eyes pool. Her voice quavers and then we're both crying, even though she's sharing something awesome. It's marvelous. She's the only friend who cries like I do.
This time she was telling me all about Donald Miller's Storyline Conference she attended last month. Donald shared about his story and his friendship with Bob Goff. He said, "Bob is the kind of friend who sees who I am becoming and speaks to that." I.love.this.
I want to see who my girls are becoming. But I'll need to be attentive. Aware. On the look out. What are strong emotions? Excitement. Pain. Anger. What moves them? What will they spend time doing? And on this trip, where will they linger? Where do they feel sadness? Where are they awed?
And me? It's not too late for more life altering moments. What will I experience on this trip that might change me? It's all about wonder. Being attentive. And watching the story unfold. With a few tears of course.
And you? What have been some of your inciting incidents?