Paul is winging his way around the world as I write. He has spent the last couple of weeks in Vietnam. This is the last trip in a series that have been long and frequent since Thanksgiving. Last year was very light for travel until late November and he’s been gone off and on since.
I don’t need a friend who has all the answers.
What I need is a friend who will hunker down with me in the questions.
And that’s the sort of friend I want to be.
So it’s been a week since I posted last. I don’t really know where the time went.
October? It flew.
I have been really tired. The first half of the month I did some serious work, writing and thinking and a goodly bit of laundry. This latter half not so much in all those categories, although I have been cleaning (read: digging out) and doing some home projects so that’s good.
Just realized I forgot to eat lunch which, I promise you, does not happen often. I might never know where my purse is, but I always remember to get my chow. Will rectify this situation soon.
On Tuesdays the big kids go to an environmental science school while Eden spends the day with her cousin, Ren. I drove all over the world to get everyone to where they need to be and then spent a few seemingly unprofitable hours not writing “enough”. I felt discouraged, but didn’t want to go into the shame free for all that characterized my writing times of the past. Played with the dog, walked in the sun, cleaned the kitchen, wrote a little then drove to pick up the big kids.
I debated which library to go to: the one closer to the school or, the one I chose, which we usually visit. On the way I called my friend, Dan. He happened to mention the errand he was running and I was going to be driving right by where he was. I stopped by and we had a little visit.
It is a beautiful day. We commented on the weather and commiserated on what a crap Fall it was last year. He asked how my day was and I told him.
“That’s OK!” He practically shouted. “You chose to fill up your spirit and enjoy this beautiful weather. We live in Michigan! It’s fine that you gave yourself the day off.”
“But I gave myself last Tuesday too.”
“That’s fine!” He was insistent.
He is a professional musician and understands about getting stuck and finding strategies to navigate one’s insecurities. We talked about some ways for me to get back in the saddle without fear or self loathing.
Our visit was short as we both had other places to be. I stepped out of the van to hug him and thank him for being my performance coach. He waved it off, shouted good bye to the kids and then hopped into his car.
I have been thinking about community a lot. Ruminating would not be too big of a word. I have been thinking about the opportunities we have to be in each other’s, at times complete stranger’s, lives and how we use that power, how we choose or abdicate the roles to play we are endlessly given. I have been thinking about what God is calling me to give and to receive in my communities: my families, my church, my physical community, even in casual connections. I have been praying and listening and getting in my van and driving where I need to go and answering the phone when I would rather screen and yet screening sometimes and staying home too. I am trying to say Yes to God, when I am not sure what he is requesting.
Today, I drove a route I rarely travel and met a friend where he never goes. I know he didn’t accept a mission from God to ENCOURAGE ALISON but, given a chance, he did. He said Yes. And I did too.