What Life is Like

We sat outside in the mellow air at 10 PM, talking over the day when Gabe got home from work. His patients had all been nice people, so that was a good day for him. I had done something that bothered me all summer: pressure washed the algae and road dirt off the deck and railings. It took me 5 hours. Then I came into the house and wished I could pressure wash it and just be done. The children had done a clean blitz and it was acceptable, but not optimal for going into the weekend. That was when I just turned around and walked back outside. There is just a limit and I had reached it. In grasping for a  description of how this feels, I told Gabe, “It’s like things just keep flying at you. Like one of those early electronic games we had where you had a bat to hit the balls that got pitched, and the faster you hit them, the faster they came flying. Finally you just die.” Gabe came up with an even better analogy, “No, it’s like Tetris, where you have to stack the blocks and you never know what shape is coming next.” I might add that the more efficiently you stack them, the faster they drop out of nowhere.

I am not sure whether to feel sad that life is like that, or to just KBO. Remember Churchill’s “KBO”? That’s what we have been doing. Like everything. I don’t know of any way to get out of it or I would, trust me.

About every ten years I have an epiphany that changes my life in some way. For example, at 10 I discovered that two people can have the very same name and be totally opposite people. One might be someone I can’t help loving and the other might be someone I didn’t really enjoy, but I couldn’t draw conclusions until I actually got to know them. At 20 I figured out (after those teen periods of agonizing embarrassment) that people really didn’t notice me and my mistakes that much. It was a great relief. Around 30 I made up my mind to make a joyful career of mothering instead of wishing I didn’t have to always be the adult. And now, just before I turn 40, I think I have had a sort of epiphany about more and more work and my relationship with it. It’s unavoidable. Might as well embrace it and take it down.

On a more spiritual note, I think of Matthew 25 and the Parable of the Talents. I used to read that and dream of the day when my “being faithful with a little” would turn into “being set over much”. I am not sure whether the much is referring to the present, or in the Future because they were “entering in to the joy of the Lord”. One point is clear, the slothful person who was afraid to do anything with what he was given was extremely displeasing to his lord.

This brings me to my writing goals and how they just don’t seem to happen. About five years ago I thought that I was supposed to compile a book. Then I accidentally lost three years worth of writing and I will admit, it took the stuffing out of me. I had brainstormed titles, chapters, outlines. All gone. So I just kept blogging and holding it there in my hands, loosely. Now I find I don’t even have time for that anymore. It makes me sad. There have been many days in the last months when I wrote in my head, but yeah. Not so much use in the long term. Add to this the fact that much of what is either tragic or hilarious in my  home life right now involves adolescents whose feelings I will not hurt by sharing confidences online. So I am in this holding pattern and I don’t know…could I eliminate some T-shaped blocks to make room for others? Am I being slothful/undisciplined? Or am I just supposed to wait for a different season to get serious about writing?

Sometimes my desk looks like this when I feel a sudden urge to write (I share in the interests of transparency)


and I feel the creativity flee as I slink away for another time when I have a block of time to get the chaos under control.

Last but not least, I have been reading Calvin Miller and feeling like a very small tadpole in a shallow puddle beside an elegant dolphin who flings shining words about in the ocean. I suppose even a very small tadpole might have things to say, but it seems a little presumptuous. Still, I guess I just did that. It felt good. 🙂

Have a great week, my friends.

8 thoughts on “What Life is Like

  1. So many things I could comment on… But I really think you should just compile your blog posts into a book, the way Dorcas Smucker does. She even gave a very helpful workshop at this year’s writers’ conference at CLP about the pros and cons of self-publishing. I’m sure you could order a recording of it. Secondly, I must ask if that is an orchid growing in your office and if so, please tell how to produce such prolific growth. I am struggling to keep one alive that means a great deal to me.

    1. It is an orchid, Linda. Gabe won it in a raffle this spring and I am struggling with its immense size in my small house as well fearing it will die. The directions with it said to soak it every two weeks, so I am trying to do that.

      1. Thanks. The directions that came with mine said to give it three ice cubes weekly, so I’m trying to do that. 🙂 Good luck to both of us. Long live the orchids.

  2. I was so fascinated by your once a decade truths. 🙂 The last three were something I learned close to the same time. I’m hitting that last one a little early or then I don’t want to think about what’s to come. :/ 🙂 🙂 I am constantly wondering if I need to somehow become better organized or work harder or be more okay with never, ever, ever, getting close to caught up. And on writing, sigh, do I ever relate. I want to blog so, so badly; but somehow I can never fit brain power and time and inspiration into the same pocket.

    1. I think ladies who homeschooled back in the day were upper class women who had servants. Anyway that is what I tell myself when I am utterly awash in stuff that doesn’t get done, and that is how I deal with the unorganized/undisciplined line. Keep your souls healthy, I tell myself. The rest is incidental. I wish that wouldn’t sound so simplistic.

      1. Those upper class women also probably didn’t do their own sewing, raise big gardens and can all their harvest, take their children on bike rides around the lake, nor pressure wash their houses. 🙂 Try keeping a list of things you did get done. You will be pleasantly impressed.

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