I should be sleeping. It is quite late. I’ve just watched “Mrs Dalloway” with Vanessa Redgrave and am more sad than I ought to be.
But that is not what I want to write tonight. What I want to write and what I will write may not work themselves out. I am home now, back from a trip to South Carolina for spring break. It was, as vacations go, a very good, albeit quiet one. My sister had just booked a cruise for that week when I called to see if we could come see her. But she said it would be great if we could stay at her house then, anyway, and take care of her dogs. My mom heard what we were doing and decided to join us.
The weather was not perfect, but it was very good. The dogs were not perfect, but they were very good. The children were not perfect, but they were–and I do not say this lightly–very good. (I will say that portable DVD players and I-Pods make for wonderful travelling companions–and all five of us survived, mostly genially, the more than 30 hours round-trip in the car.)
That said, I spent today in a bit of a stupor. I’m weary in a way I can’t pin down. I’m anxious to do something, but I’m not sure what, and I’m anxious to not talk to another soul for the rest of my days. Until next week, at least.
I’m word weary. Again. I want to write and yet the words don’t match up easily with the sharp dullness that pierces me these days. “How are you, where are you in this?” my mother asked when she and I had a few minutes just the two of us. And I didn’t want to answer because if I ascribe words to it, then that’s what I have to be. I’d much rather just sit here in this place than pin it down. If I were a color right now, I’d be gray–not even a dark gray that hints at being solid, but a light gray that hints at mist. This is what I am these days; this is where I live–in a mist that has not feet, no settled spot, but hovers, closely and intentionally, knowing that if I become solid again, all will be well.
The worst of this is that I can see my daughters looking at me as if I am fragile to the point of scattering, like mildewed cloth dried to a dust that stubbornly clings to its previous shape because that is what it remembers. This is what I was, I tell myself, so this is what I must be. And those two older girls watch me like hawks and I feel like I’m stealing something from them — stealing an assurance of who I am, who I was, who I will be tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And I see them growing into me–full of emotion and words and ideas — as if they are filling the space I’ve left open.
You see? I didn’t really want to write this. But I also had to write this. It feels so incredibly self-indulgent to feel this crappy after what was a very lovely week of being able to be away from home and of having the money to do so. And this is what I’m running away from right now–that pull toward self-indulgence. Because it feels weak, because it feels sick, because it feels … redundant.
One step in front of the other. That’s what I told Jacqueline at MoxieLife earlier today, like I know a thing or two. One step in front of the other. And today, the step I was stepping around was this—writing my way through and around it. Now, though, it seems like a worthless fight to have had with myself all day. But I guess that’s the thing: I just needed to struggle and avoid until I couldn’t anymore.
Give me sight so I may see the gray
and look deeply into it until I see
the other colors that live there, too.
Let my heart lead when that sight fails
or when my eyes refuse to focus beyond the gray
Guide me to the peace of the moment;
remind me it does not need to last in order to
do the work my heart needs
Bring me out of the mist, dear God,
and make this heavy body feel solid once again
rooted to the now and not the then or the not yet
And, God, help me to find my own words again
so that I may lead my daughters to find theirs
instead of allowing them to fill the space left empty by me
I am weary, God, but not yet broken
I am lonely, God, but not yet alone.