I'm feeling a little melancholy today. I woke this morning to a shadowy, sunless room and the trickle of rain on the roof. Low thunder rumbled on the distant horizon . . . and I felt the weight of it on my spirit, too . . . before my feet even hit the floor. If you've been following me these past few months -- specifically over the past week -- you'll understand that I mean that quite literally. Since retiring from a long educational career this year to write, I've been in a hurry to get things done, and I have no time for life's little interruptions . . . like the one the that hit me like a falling house last Monday. It took out my back and it took my hurry with it, replacing it with pain and frustration. And because I let it, because I wasn't willing to accept my current circumstances, sadness and fear. Fear is my very best fair weather friend; he only shows up when I've lost my control . . . and he's never, not once, ever offered to help me find it. I'm seriously considering breaking off the relationship.
Ever have those times when something happens. . . or lots of somethings all at once . . . and you can't seem to stay in the moment? . . . everything right now is overshadowed by the what ifs of the before and what's going to happen after. Everything becomes magnified and looming and dooming until you begin to question every decision you've ever made, and you're living in a place of deep anxiety and fear? And if there's not somebody there . . . some wise and faithful confidante, intuitive and omnipresent, who shadows your every move and tunes into every emotional nuance that's written on your face . . . You might just have to tell yourself to BREATHE . . . and maybe give yourself permission to rest in the rainy places . . .
Last Friday was the first day I ventured out (with the exception of the chiropractor's office) since last Monday when the searing pain of a back injury forced me into unwelcome immobility. A friend asked me to lunch, and I went, and stayed just a little too long. My back was aching terribly when I started home, and that place that I so desperately wanted to escape just a few hours before was my only focused thought as I exited the highway to come home. Funny little detail about that particular exit . . . A few months ago, I had been in a hurry to get home after a long day of work in the city. And when I approached the flashing red light, I paused . . . almost stopped . . . but really just paused and turned right when I was sure there was no one approaching. It has always seemed prudent to me to move along when there is a line of cars behind you with other people that are also in a hurry. The policeman that pulled me over didn't agree. Fast forward to last Friday. Same exit ramp. Same flashing red light. I stopped. And was bulldozed by an AT&T truck. He took out the whole left backside of my lovely wine colored Ford Fusion. You can't make these things up. And just to put things in greater perspective, this is the third time, with some variation, that this has happened to me in the year and a half since I acquired this particular car. I know, right?! You can imagine that right in that moment, on impact, and when the full realization of what had just happened hit me (it took about a second and a half) what I must have said, what I must have done . . . Except that I didn't. Yes, there was an immediate ARE YOU KIDDING ME? to no one in particular (not even the poor, hapless AT&T kid whose inattention evoked my sense of deja vu) . . . but then . . . I let it go (no Frozen pun intended). I was still in pain, but not much worse for wear. My car was wrecked. Again. I had to wait forty five minutes for a police report. And as I sat in my car gritting my teeth in pain, I heard the poor kid getting fried by his boss, who had arrived on the scene, and ran interference . . . "Hey, listen . . . it happens . . ." (I swear I didn't mention exactly how often it happens to me) . . . and when the cop asked me if I was hurt, if I was feeling pain anywhere, I actually laughed. And then I was glad to go home. Strangely, the fight - the resistance to the direction my life had suddenly taken, even after yet another beating - was gone, and replaced by a sense of peace.
It don't feel right, but it's not wrong . . . it's just hard to start again this far along . . . and brick by brick . . . the letting go . . . as you walk away from everything you know. . .
So I had to remind myself about this again this morning. I had to check my fast forward instinct., and find that place of peace instead of fear . . . accept the quiet over the hurry.. And to do that, I needed to think about where I've been, and where I am. I left a thirteen year, frenetically paced career to pursue another one that comes from my heart and renders me on my own, and now I'm stuck, for this moment in time between the two. And stuck in a way I could never have imagined. Things are not moving along exactly the way I'd planned. It's a little scary. And for a person that thrives on accomplishment, for someone who routinely enumerates each item of completion on a daily to do list when someone asks me about my day, it's an adjustment. I'm going to feel emotion on top of emotion. And I accept that. But I will BREATHE and reach for that place of peace and fearlessness that brought me here in the first place, and remind myself that this - this beyond my control place - just may be the best thing that could have happened to me. Because today, after finishing my third book in two days. . . and walking my dogs along a winding woodland path. . . and perusing a Pinterest gallery of colorful art. . . and then reading a children's book (so that I could remember it with my granddaughter), .I'm remembering who I used to be, and wondering when, exactly, I began measuring my value solely by how much I could accomplish, how much I could DO in a day. . . and usually for someone else. I am reveling in the fact that life doesn't have to be a list, and am beginning to realize . . . slowly and and painfully . . . that that was never what God intended for my life, or anyone else's. Maybe slowly and painfully was the only way He could get my attention, and lead me home to myself.
. . . You release resistance as you lean into the wind till the roof begins to crumble and the rain comes pouring in, and you sit there in the rubble til the rubble feels like home. And that's how you learn to live alone." ~ Jonathan Jackson from How to Learn to Live Alone