I’m here! If you’re here, thanks for hanging with me for all those quiet months. I’ll talk about them a bit, but first this: it’s a clear January day and I’m sitting in my nook with a hot cup of tea, a view of pecan trees outside my little window, and piles of things to do. All happy things. I’m a few weeks into graduate school, having finally taken the dive. In three years, if all goes well, I’ll be a Certified Nurse Midwife. In the meantime, I have this time, this rich quiet, in which to learn and I’m so grateful for it. My children went and got big and now even the little ones have important places to go in the morning. Their excitement is mine too, and their running, jumping delight to be picked up after lunch–that’s mine as well. It’s a sweet season.
It was a weird and difficult fall, and I wrote a lot of words here, but didn’t hit publish on any of them. They seemed whiny and pathetic and not completely true, but I couldn’t find the words that did feel true. I had complicated feelings about moving back to a place that holds precious things but also where I never really thought I’d live again, and every time I tried to work through them I just ended up feeling, well, whiny and pathetic. I guess there are times we just need to simmer and let our feelings be, and wait. Things are feeling more peaceful now; my head and heart are not exactly in line but moreso than before. (I don’t care what you say, spellcheck. I love the word moreso. It says more than more so, don’t you think?)
I’ve grown tired of some things. That’s not to say I’ll never care to revisit them, but for now, they are tiresome. I just want to study and learn, be a mother, be a wife, be a nurse, be a person. I don’t know where all of my faith issues are taking me, but these days I feel less of a need to know. It doesn’t take up so much space in my life. My life is enough and more! It is full of beauty and wonder (along with anger, sadness, confusion and all the other signs of being a living, evolving person). I feel like I’ve just given my unanswerable questions a big shrug and gotten back to the business of living. Who knows, maybe I’ll come back to them and see things more clearly at some point, like a first draft that you know how to make better after stepping away from it for a few hours.*
Last year, I set out to try and understand the process I was in. I intended to finish out the year, writing at least each month, but I didn’t get past August (well, not publicly and not in a way that felt genuine.) Despite that, as I was reading over my 2015 posts, I realized I had written enough to understand the process. It has been a slow, very gradual letting go. It began years ago, and it continues. It seems to me now that life is less about adding on new things and more about choosing what to let go of and what to keep. So, now, my focus has shifted to the things I want to keep.
Maybe this is the time for resting one set of muscles, so to speak, and exercising another. I only know I don’t want to live in a constant state of analysis and irritation–how could that possibly be good? And when I think about issues of faith, or try to engage with them, I get to analysis and irritation pretty quickly. I don’t want to think about certain things in terms of faith or even spirituality–that just takes me down a bad path. I need to free those concepts from the fences other people built around them a long time ago. I am connected to something important, something that makes me want to engage with life rather than hide from it. I don’t care so much about naming or defining that thing as I do about exploring it.
For the longest time, it was difficult to imagine a life without the framework of religion, but not so much now. Not at all, really. It looks like waking up, trying to be kind, accomplishing something, spending time with people I love, allotting time for self care, acquiring and appreciating knowledge, apologizing when I’m wrong, encountering people and their stories, letting important things change me, sleeping, repeating, in whatever order, pattern or mosaic these things come. Sunday–that day that was beautiful, terrible, confusing, edifying, crushing and magnetic for all those years–it’s mostly for hiking, connecting, and resting now. I’ve embraced simple. (Here’s a thing I’ve learned: when the highs are not so high, the lows are not so low. I may have thought that was cowardly before, but it sure seems like wisdom now. It’s like being sober, as I imagine it.)
Those are my crumbs today, here, now. It’s not so different, but then it’s totally different. I’m a pinpoint in the center of that. Maybe you are too.
*This isn’t a goodbye to this space or to the concept of gathering breadcrumbs. It will just take different forms this year, as I learn what that looks like.