I have that whispery, raw feeling you get when you have not talked for a long while, and the first word out doesn’t sound right, so you swallow hard, and try again.
That’s this post.
Something happened in the spring. Right after my fortieth birthday, I wrote a couple of posts, about the wholeheartedness with which I want to live out this next decade. In fact I had a whole series of posts planned about the practices I wanted to adopt to nurture this life, this brave pouring of myself into the days and people and places of my particular world.
And then they just didn’t get written.
Some of that was because I was out practicing those very things, instead of writing about them. I shot more photos, read more books, spent more time outside. I looked deeply into my loved ones’ eyes when they spoke and I answered. I spent some good mornings with a trusted friend, long talks over cooling coffee. I spent a great weekend of laughter and confession and pizza and grace with another friend. We planted a garden and ate our own beans and peas and basil.
But lest you think I’ve been off on some odyssey of self discovery and enrichment, the truth of the matter is that practice is just that, and perfection is not on my radar. As we navigated the end of the school year, my mothering life was its own usual blend of joy and angst. (You may remember my standardized test rant from my one drive-by post from that season.) Now that summer is here, our communal happiness at another school year well-finished has to share space with my struggles with body image and self-care, the questions always of what enough looks like, on the calendar, in the home, in front of screens, on the plate, in the living.
And always, the online questions, the ongoing blogging debate I have in my head.
What I think I have to admit now is that writing is one of the main ways I figure stuff out, one of the ways God reveals what God reveals of the design of my life, the calls on my time and energy. I write to make, and to discover what I’m making next. And here, the words can come together with my images, and together they are something new. Reading back over them, I discover what was not there before. Specifically, the way I often write, the short personal essay, gives new gifts, in the writing and the reading.
None of this should be surprising. I’m a Christian. The Judeo-Christian God speaks to create. I’ve plowed this ground before.
But maybe it is just time to admit, I am back here because I can’t, ultimately, not come back to words. And landed where I am, in 2012, this is a pretty great place to play with them, to weave and tear out, knead and shape, and then to bear them in my hands, or in the basket of an image, and offer them to you.
I don’t have a grand plan, a series, pages of notes on a legal pad. I’ve discovered those sometimes go the way of my all-or-nothing exercise schemes. But I’ll be back here, with some words about the pages and scenes and places and people that have been helping me calibrate better with my whole heart.
Wishing you every good thing of summer.