The boys and I started piano lessons back up again today. One of my New Year’s Resolutions for this year was to play the piano more. With everything that’s gone on this past year my piano resolution became something akin to a dream from a past life. But a few weeks ago in church, our organist played Jesus loves me from the piano, and my heart was so moved by the song’s beauty that I asked her after church for lessons.
I talked with a local pastor’s wife this morning. I find myself almost panting to get back into church life, longing again for some sort of creative community where I am no longer existing on a diet of scarcity when it comes to spiritual and communal nourishment. I don’t just need the food myself, I need to feed others. I need to create and be continuously recreated, over and over. It’s how I am made to exist in this world.
It’s a beautiful fall day outside. The front porch area needs some sweeping and decorating. I need to pull up the pumpkin plant that faithfully produced it’s fruit for the joy of others, and now gets to rest and return even closer to the ground. The sun of September and October is perhaps my favorite sun. It’s hard to choose favorites in these beautiful life cycles. The month I love is always the one that reminds me of joy.
The boys and I went for a walk this morning. The past several days I have felt a little braver in terms of going further on the camp grounds. Walking on land with hills and grass is different than walking on the gravel camp road. The walk went well and I even left the top of the hill to get closer to the boys so I could take this picture. I’m telling you, these are the gorgeous moments of life that I live for, that keep me ever in love.
The big kids are keeping busy with high school. They leave about 7:20 in the morning and get home around 5:30 after cross-country practice. It feels completely normal now, and I am thankful for the ways they are both adjusting well. Josh keeps busy with his work. I haven’t quite figured out if it’s him or just the nature of church work, but there never really seems to be a weekend, and the days can start to feel like they’re blurring together. We have always lived at the same place where his job is, which I’m sure has something to do with it too. It’s something I’m just used to now.
He’s been grocery shopping for me again ever since that crazy game. If I continue feeling as good as I’ve felt lately, I could probably pick it back up again next week. I’ve spent several hours my life over the past two weeks trying to write book reviews for my goodreads account. I’ve read probably 30+books this year that I haven’t recorded, all because I want to write a book review for them. But even that is proving to be perhaps not the most fruitful use of my time. I will end up not publishing anything because I am never quite happy enough with what I come up with, and don’t want to just throw something out there. Then I don’t like that I take so much in, but don’t produce anything in terms of output.
I’ve told God that it’s okay, that I don’t need to write now. I can wait until the kids are older, until I’m a little less pulled in all my different directions. I pray and ask God for a place to write, sometimes forgetting that there is nothing stopping me from writing here. I recently finished reading the apocryphal book of Tobit, which was mentioned in another book I was reading about the dark night of the soul. One of the characters, Tobias, is guided by the archangel Raphael on trip to meet a woman who is oppressed by a demon. The demon has killed seven of her husbands, all on her wedding night. Tobias ends up needing to burn a fish heart in order to free his future bride from the demon. This was supposedly symbolic of burning away the heart’s attachments, so that the heart is free from all that hinders it from love.
I know the attachments have been worked on this year. In many ways it feels like I’m having to let go of what’s no longer serving me, whether it’s mindsets or behaviors or ideas or memories. I’ve also had to let go of the things I have not been able to let go off, because they are more than just attached, they are part of who I am. And it’s had to occur to me that maybe some things about me aren’t meant to be changed. There are certain things I just can’t fight anymore, and I have to wonder why, through all this time, have I tried to?
The boys and I started school this week. I’m keeping it real lowkey this year. The whole summer I’d been pretty ambivalent about homeschooling, not really knowing what to do about the school year. So I just didn’t worry about it too much, and even up until last week when I ordered their books, I’m going into this knowing I’m not who I used to be.
The past three afternoons we’ve gone down to the beach. Those are the moments of absolute bliss, where I feel completely whole and at peace with the universe. I’ve gotten in the water all three days and enjoyed it. We drive the camp truck down so I am not obliged to walk up the hill, but two of the three days I walked up the hill anyway.
It still doesn’t feel right. But it’s also more than I would’ve been able to do months ago. I do pray that someday I am able to look back on this time and vaguely remember what it felt like to be so physically impaired. I truly don’t care to experience anything like this ever again, and yet, I am thankful for the time it has given me with God and his comfort.
It’s only been a week since I made my blog private and I’m already wishing I hadn’t needed to do it. For the past three days I’ve thought about everything I could’ve said differently. I could’ve been gentler. My final paragraph could’ve been ten times better.
But the biggest thing I wish I would’ve finally said and done, was to have not left it open to the possibility of writing publicly elsewhere. I wish I would’ve just let the writing dream die, because to be honest, I can’t keep holding on to something that’s just not happening. The rejection. The frustration. The trying to figure out how to be who these people are saying they want me to be. Nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life.
Because here’s the deepest honest truth, friends. I have already lived my best writing life. The experiences I have had through writing, the people I have met through blogging, I couldn’t have asked or dreamed for anything greater, better, or more.
I guess what I’m saying is, those years served their purpose. I am at peace with them ending. There were so many things over the years that I could never quite be fully and clearly open about. Sometimes I didn’t even do it on purpose, it’s just how the words kept coming and coming. As much as my heart yearns at times to write elsewhere, I am content with writing in my journal and writing quietly here. I am at peace with what is.
I took a brief evening walk on the beach trail today. This time I went halfway down, then back up. I still wonder how much longer this healing will take, if I will ever get back to old normal. I have to believe that this time, this season, will serve its due purpose too.
Josh took the younger boys to the Farm Progress show with my father-in-law. The two big kids left this morning for school. That leaves me here alone in the house, sitting on the couch next to the open sliding door window. It’s one of my favorite times of year when the hot weather finally turns cool in the morning. We’re not there yet, but close.
i had the thought this morning, “Is this what I’ve been depriving myself of all these years?” I was referring to the aloneness and solitude. Right about the time all my kids were old enough to be in school, we moved and I decided to homeschool them. Homeschooling had been a long time dream of mine, and I can honestly say, it’s been everything I hoped it would be, and more. The more consists of the extra messes and mealtimes, an extremely lived in basement schoolroom that’s been depressing me and driving me nuts for years. The more has also consisted of countless days like this, where my kids are free to go to out to the farm, or into their grandparent’s house, or over to the farm progress show with their father and grandfather. We haven’t started school yet this year, but in many ways, school never ends because the days just keep going.
It’s good for me to take and have time to reflect. When I don’t, I tend to get too caught up in the present moment, particularly if the present moment is stressful. One of the yoga affirmations in one of the videos I’ve done more regularly is “Outside circumstances will not effect my inner peace.” That doesn’t mean we’re suddenly no longer human and never find ourselves stressed again. It simply means we know who to turn to, we know who upholds us when the world around us feels too unstable. Psalm 46 is a wonderful example of this, the famous, “Be still and know that I am God.” Though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…
There’s that verse in the New Testament that tells us not to be anxious in anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition and thanksgiving, present our requests to God. It says the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. I think it’s tempting to read that verse and think it’s saying something like, “Don’t be anxious, or else!” Or, “Just stop it. Quit being anxious. It’s just wrong, ok?”
But that’s not what God is saying here. Our God is the God of comfort and assurance. When he says not to be anxious, it’s because he wants to hear from us. I like to think of the peace that passes all understanding not as some kind of inner peace we’re trying to muster up, but as the strength of the Lord who day and night, in every hour, in every trial and occasion throughout our lives, is actively guarding our hearts and our minds.