I was out the other morning with my son and we found this little cemetery where several Revolutionary War veterans were buried. It had such a beauty to it.
Just yesterday, a friend asked me, “what now”? And it’s hard to know. Because my world changed and I wasn’t ready to change with it. Ready doesn’t matter. So, two days ago, I began asking new questions. Looking for new answers. Heart open. It’s time. To start from a place of love and take one more step. Toward light. Toward living. Toward more love. Treading softly as I dream new dreams one at a time. Building them little by little. Sharing them as I go.
It’s impossible when light shines brightly enough, not to be exposed. Yesterday, I had a conversation where the light was pretty bright. Tired of hiding from it, I stood there. Loosened my stiff neck. Opened my heart. And let the light, well… enlighten. And while it was painful, what the light revealed was bigger than my pain. It was bigger than the whole of me. And I want something bigger than me right now. Surrendering to it was the only thing I could do. Not because I’m great, but because I’m not.
IT’s funny listening to my mom talk about her life. Eighty-six years. And as I listen, I laugh at some of her stories. Some of the others make me sad. But I think what makes me saddest is that so many of her decisions in life were based on fear. Fear of losing something. Fear of not doing the “right” thing. (whatever that means). And according to her, she lived a full life. It’s only when I compare it to what it might have been had she not been afraid that I get truly tearful. Had she done what she really wanted. Had she said what she meant. More often. From her heart and not her head. Had she not been so cautious. Had she taken more chances. And then I realized, the other night, as she was giving me a piece of advice, that I wasn’t sad for her at all. But for me. What she was telling me to do summed up her whole life. And mine, to a certain degree. I politely rejected the advice. But it was like a lightning bolt. And a warning. And if it’s not too late, I’d like to start by living in a place between right and wrong. How can there be fear in a place like that. I think I’ll like it there.
I think I must have been born on a foggy day. My soul is peaceful there. It feels like the one place where the world is larger yet more intimate. Mysterious but safe. And there are no words in the fog. Within the veil. They simply don’t belong. I can hear my breathing, but that’s it. Even my thoughts stay quiet. There is no room for reasoning or whining or conclusions of any kind. Maybe I am born on every foggy day.
“Something about making art has to do with overcoming things, giving us a clear opportunity for doing things in ways we have always known we should do them.” ― David Bayles Art&Fear
I know there’s a saying about missing the forest for the trees or the trees for the forest or something. I never was much good at those sayings. And behind the clever little words is supposed to be this incredibly profound meaning… that someone has summed up in a few clever little words. Anyway, I think I’m doing it. I am missing the forest for the trees this time. I’m looking and waiting and waiting some more for this life to start. And I’m working around and running smack into obstacles. Trees. Life. And I find myself wishing these days away… so I can get to the forest. Instead of seeing that this IS the forest. With these beautiful trees. Life. And I’m in it. It’s here. Around me. Bigger and taller than I’d imagined. Softer and harder. With little winding paths. And fog and branches so that sometimes, it’s a little unclear… and scratchy. Wow. This is the forest.
I didn’t expect everything to be swirling around me like this. And it feels like I’m walking on air, but not in the good way. In the, my feet aren’t planted and set in a direction way. And it feels like it’s been this way for so long, I don’t remember what it was like to be anchored. To fold my clothes and put them in a drawer. To pull a book off my bookshelf. To use my own dishes. I don’t have routine or the subtle comfort of it. Short term has evolved into long term. I am looking for the magic in uncertainty. For the beauty in wondering. Maybe it’s in a place called tomorrow. Just on the other side of tonight.
There’s a line from a song, “… if you’ve never stared off into the distance then your life is a shame.” (Counting Crows) I’ve done a fair amount of staring off into the distance. Especially in the last few years. Maybe too much staring. Not enough doing. Too much distance. Not enough now. So, I made a decision. I hope it’s not a mistake. I hope if it is, I learn something from it. I think it’s good to stare once in a while. But, for me, it’s time to take a deep breath and go.
This morning, like so many mornings now, I woke up thinking about my dad. Happy Father’s Day, by the way. I still miss him. Maybe even more than I did months ago, which is strange because I thought it would get easier. This morning I kind of smiled when I thought about how I viewed him as I was growing up. When I was little, I thought he was the greatest man alive. He was tall and strong with a deep rich reading voice. His stride when we walked together was twice my height. When I got older, teenage years, I thought he was great because he knew everything about everything. He was incredibly smart. My brother and sisters and I know way more about the Japanese Maple and other various trees than we will ever be able to use. And as an adult I learned about his character. His high standards and ethics. I learned about the sacrifices he made for his family. The loyalty to his friends. His generosity toward everyone he knew.
Maybe, maybe… I thought he was the greatest man alive because he was. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with a girl thinking that.
With all the traveling I have done lately, both literal and figurative, I have paid a lot of attention to roads. Where they are and where they take me and who I am on them with. In all that, however, I forgot about the bridges. Not a big fan of bridges. I don’t know if it’s the lack of sure-footedness, the fact that they are not solid ground, sometimes the height, I don’t know. Yesterday, I was on one. Figuratively. I was at a point where I couldn’t go backward. I couldn’t stay where I was. I could only go forward and that meant crossing this stupid bridge. And for all the yammering I do about faith and trust, I would think bridges would be no problem. It’s taking that first step. Leaving what I know to be solid. Here’s what I saw. Standing in the middle of the bridge. The solid ground is inside me. Not underneath me. Focusing on the other side. Holding the hand of the person who also sits beside me on the roller coaster. And before long. There I am. Over it. One of these days, I will stand there long enough to look over the side.