Cracks in the Pavement

Photo by Dennis George from Pexels

Have you heard the childhood phrase, “Step on a crack, break your momma’s back”? I grew up hearing other kids say that, and I believed it to the extent that one day, being an inquisitive child, I decided to test the theory. It was a Sunday after church and my brother and I were walking a few paces ahead of my mom when I decided to deliberately step on a crack. I turned back immediately having heard no cry of pain and studied my mom. She was fine, and it was that day that I learned the phrase wasn’t true, and from then on I knew my mom would be just fine regardless of where I stepped. Life, however, has taught me that I may not be ok if I step any and everywhere without mindfulness.

Sidewalk cracks, I’ve observed, function as both a form of separation and a bridge between one slab of pavement and another. These cracks and these slabs of pavement that we call the sidewalk are like mirrors for relationships. What happens when those cracks don’t lay flush and are lifted because of tree roots, or just everyday wear and tear? If you’re not paying attention, they can cause you to trip, stumble, and sometimes fall to your knees praying you didn’t break the skin. There may be scaffolds in the way that will require detours and cracks in the foundation that require maintenance, and when the sidewalk ends, you have to make a choice, step off and find another, or turn back and find another way. The power lies within the moment you are making that decision and there is a grace that is required to accept the outcome.

I presently find myself in a Shel Silverstein moment: I stumbled over the unearthed pavement a few paces back, regained my footing, and now the sidewalk before me seems to have ended. I’m at a crossroads and need to make a decision and not be fearful of the outcome. Relationships are hard. Adulting is hard. It requires tools that we don’t always get in our early years and we have to acquire them from books and take nuggets of wisdom from friends and family where we can. These tools, we carry into adulthood as we traverse our individual paths and as an adult, you are constantly starting down new paths and befuddled by the process of patching up old ones. The care with which we handle these fragmented pieces, these ill balanced structures(?), they determine the outcome(?) (play a key factor in the resolution). Ultimately, it is my desire to see the balance and harmony in the world be restored, and yet, there is beauty in the midst of discord. 

I was astounded as a youth to learn that the Grand Canyon was formed over the course of millions of years of erosion from the flow of the Colorado River. Now it is a highly frequented tourist trap that we all love. Every nook and cranny holds a grain of history and crack and crevice in the wall of the canyon tells a story that is majestic to behold. This national treasure may not be as significant if it hadn’t been for the years of what some may have called destruction, but I choose to see the beauty in this destruction and I hope that you all can see it too.

cracks on a dry land
Photo by Aaron Kittredge on

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