‘I’m Open’

‘I’m open, I’m open, I’m open’, come the frantic cries of the boys as they ask for the basketball.

They’re asking for the ball while jiggling around only a couple of feet from me, so there is nothing ‘open’ about their position. They’ve picked up the phrase from a friend down the road who is quick to shout it in any game that is being played. And so now it has become the soundtrack to basketball, football and any other instance where one boy wants the other one to pass something. The danger of the pass comes from a ball flying into the shouting face that is only inches away.

In contrast, this afternoon was spent sitting out in the back garden being ‘spied on’ by two supposed policemen who were very much not ‘open’, and only wanted to be known by their aliases of Policeman Pirate Freddie and Baddie Billy (not sure he got the memo about baddies being on the other side). Every time I mistakenly called them by their real names, I got shouts of denial as they employed a semblance of stealth – mainly involving scurrying from one place to another – and escaped back up the hill.

As vaccines kick in, and restrictions begin to ease, being open takes on a new meaning. Our space is more open, our lives are therefore more visible and conversations can happen without the stilted turn-taking of a zoom call.

It’s been an intense few months for us, with various dramas along the way, and we’re not quite able to stop yet. But I’m grateful for more opportunities to share life, and come alongside one another, as open doors, sunny days and in-person possibilities increase. There’s something about sitting down next to someone that makes it easier to open up about all that is going on – both in the present and that socially distanced past.

The boys are quick to shout that they’re open when there’s very little chance of receiving a pass. While their cries don’t work on the basketball court, there are wonderful echoes of a contradictory reality as we sit in person with people and are more open than we’ve been for months. Passing back and forth the thoroughfare of life.

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