Last week all three kids did their rounds of puking – two of them at night, one mercifully in the afternoon. Then we were done, except for one lone puking incident Monday morning. And yesterday they found me. Woke me up at 6am with that feeling in my belly that says ho boy I hope this only gets better and not worse. It got worse. I went to work for a couple hours hoping that it would pass, especially since I was the only editor in the office. After a short while though I realized this was not going to end well. And before I could round up all my stuff it hit me. It was like my belly was a slot machine and someone hit the jackpot. And won my breakfast and what was left in there of my dinner – little pieces of rice and corn no longer on the cob suspended in the goo. Is this too much information? I spent the day in bed, though fortunately without a return trip to the ass-pool. I think I’ll change the subject now.
I used to journal quite a bit. A lot, really, several times a week for multiple pages at a time. I had a lot to say apparently, or had many things to process. My first journal was in the third grade; it was for school and I had to write five sentences in it a day. More than once the last two sentences were something like, “I had a good time. It was fun,” or some other space-filling repetitive drivel that I could still get away with when I read it to the class (it wasn’t a diary, after all). I picked up the same journal again in eighth grade, when I needed somewhere to process the otherwise uninterpreted experiences of junior high, the raw trauma of a thirteen-year-old painted across the pages in the most colorful language I could think of. That was half the point really, was to have somewhere I could safely call people all the names I wanted to, a place to vent the pubescent angst that my heart hadn’t had time yet to learn to deal with.
I put the journal down through high school, until somewhere around college when I began to take my faith more seriously and again had quite a bit of prose to dump, and even poetry (and no I will not reprint any of that here. Ever.) My relationship with God was new, and I had questions, and thoughts, and new experiences and a whole lot of processing to do. That more or less carried me through about a year or two ago, coincidentally about the time I started this blog, when my questions started feeling…heavier, like there stopped being answers.
Anyway, I’m thinking of all this tonight because I picked my journal up again yesterday afternoon, only the second time in over a year I’ve written in it. I had seven hours to kill in bed, and our laptop recently bit it, so I got out my journal. It’s a different space there than the blogosphere, more personal perhaps, and more slowly paced (when was the last time you filled a page with writing by hand?). The artistry of forming the letters with the pen alternately competes against the speed of my thoughts spilling out of my brain and paces them. I splurged on this journal; usually I pick up a notebook or cheap blank book, but after perusing the selection on this site, I couldn’t resist getting a nice leather-bound one. Of course that was about two years ago and I’ve filled perhaps a seventh of it.
Being by nature an external processor, I need places to go to process stuff. Journaling has often been a helpful one; conversation with trusted friends is another. Sometimes this blog helps too. Without these things I’m not so good at sitting down and contemplating.
I’m running out of time to waste putzing around and not looking for my passion. It won’t be very long before the kids start to notice. Either there is more to the world than a bunch of carbon-based life forms swarming around a ball of dirt hurtling through space, or there is not. Lately in my life I have lived as though there is not. Wake up, go to work, make some money, pay some bills, spend time with my family and my friends, go to sleep. Repeat. Subsist. Not unlike a virus on a host organism, although a socially oriented virus. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy my days, all in all. And on these terms that might be difficult enough for most folks.
There is a part of me that is aware though that life is not as bleak as all this. That life is pretty darn good, regardless of whether or not people around me agree with that or live like it’s so. Perhaps it is the tendency of someone in the habit of hearing and understanding other people’s worldviews to take on the burdens inherent in those philosophies as well, stubbornly believing that everything is explainable, redeemable, if not mutually inclusive or compatible. The end effect though is I end up more burdened than I began. Not to mention still passionless.
I often find myself stuck on the first step back to life. Or rather, stuck looking for it. Show me the stair and I’ll take it; at least that is what I say to myself. I am the dead ready to be wakened at the first sound of the call. And perhaps I already know the stair or have heard the call but have discredited it on a failure or two of my own and the testimony of others. And perhaps my mental calisthenics are all a careful ruse to keep myself from risking too much, from caring too deeply or living too passionately.
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
It is safer that way, though I will be the first to tell you it is not better. But my words in the end will be buried with me. So again: show me the actions and I will take them. Or perhaps what I am saying is show me the actions that I can accept as the correct ones and I will take them. This part of me pushes me up when I sink too low; that part of me stuffs me down if I threaten to rise too high. I am the wrong person to ask to save myself.
Actual quote from the Genius Bar guy at the Apple store:
“And for my next trick…”
This is why they pay them to be the geniuses. They assist, they entertain, they even fix. Or perhaps it’s all just an illusionist’s routine.
Later I found out the logic board on my PowerBook was dead. Thank you, Genius!
The other night as I was tucking him in God came up in conversation again after reading the extraordinarily underwhelming and bland Berenstain Bears book on the subject of “Big Questions”.
“When can I see God?” he asked.
“Well, when you get to heaven,” I replied.
“When do I get to heaven?”
“After you die.” I was starting to wonder how much of this he was going to want to have explained. “But you’re young. People usually don’t die until they’re old.”
He sat up looking just a little frightened. “Will I go to the same heaven as you?” It made me smile.
“Yes, of course,” I consoled. “There’s only one heaven.”
“And then can I come right back home?”
That one stumped me. I gave him some answer about how great it is in heaven because no one is sad or sick, but when your whole world consists of playing and eating and getting snuggled (and sometimes going to time out) what could possibly be better about heaven?
It’s not that I haven’t been thinking. I just haven’t been writing it down and sharing it with you. Of course of the two it’s the first part that’s more difficult.
I had several paragraphs following that one just now, which WordPress and Chrome swallowed whole with no remorse as soon as I hit “publish”. WTF. Note to self: don’t blog in Chrome.
So now all you have to read is this, because I am going home from work. It’s raining and cold.