Where are you going?

Alice, where are you going? Upstairs to take a bath.
Alice, with legs like toothepicks, and a neck like a giraffe
Alice, got in the bathtub, pulled out the plug and then
Oh my goodness, bless my soul! There goes Alice down the hole!
Alice, where are you going? Glub, glub, gurgle!  

My grandmother use to sing this song. She started out the, “Alice. . .where are you go-ing?” in such a gentle, soothing tone. You had to be quite sure it was a lullabye. Right as you were getting the goofy, almost dreamy, grin on your face–whoops! Alice pulls the plug!

How fitting an analogy to a 3-week break. Just long enough to make you think it will all be alright after all, but it’s funny how hard the end of the rest hits you, and then–glub, GLUB, gurgle! Alice, where are you going?

I thought I had it all together, right up until I started getting emails from my professors. You know what I mean, right? I’d done the resting thing. I’d done all the “have-to-do-this-or-it-wasn’t-really-summer” things. Got my ducks in a row for school. Just coastin’, going to take the next semester by storm, all full of energy and on top of my game. And then one email–one email!!–and the next thing I know, I’m fighting off a panic.

I can’t do this.

It’s almost kind of cute how many times I have to discover this.

No, dear, you can’t.

And the question really is, why are you trying?

Why do rage and struggle when you could be sitting quietly, resting your head like child?

Do you like getting yourself all worked up? Do you think you’ve become omnipotent since the last time you smashed up against this wall? And if you could do this thing, this one thing. . .what would it benefit you? What would it accomplish you?

What is your purpose?

Hang on, People

I always think I’ll journal my way through the most turbulent and changing times of my life, the times of our lives that most shape who we are. In the end of it all, I wonder how anyone ever does that–because my reality is that it takes almost all of my strength and courage and dedication just to hang on.

That doesn’t sound like a particularly profound piece of life experience: “Well, mostly I just hung on.” But sometimes I wonder if anyone ever really does more than that.

I’m writing a little again now, but I know perfectly well that’s because I’m between waves. When the next one hits, I don’t know that I’ll have anything left to give to writing, again. But part of me says, “There is this little spark. It must be kept alive.” So between the waves, I make another little desperate foray.

What do I say to you, if anyone is listening at all? It’s not that I don’t have things to say as much as so many things seems to cut more deeply than words can express–or, at least, my ability to wield words.

I am learning to be grateful for things I never considered being grateful for before. Like dirt. Not even good dirt–rocks bound together by hard clay. For sore muscles. For people who help you eat cake. For dish clothes. For golden rod. For freezer space. For vegetables.

How do you explain this? It seems sometimes that it’s only when you feel the cut of lack that you rejoice to taste the joy of having it again.

I don’t have any intention of convincing anyone they should pine for sore muscles or be filled with wonder by the ground under their feet. It’s just that the earthquakes rending the landscape of my life have left me grasping for any things of value or goodness, struggling to sort out the rubble and find the things worth keeping. There’s more than a small amount of desperation in this–it’s no sea-side stroll of leisurely beach combing.  It’s confusing, and frightening, and opens up more deep and probing questions than I can count that I thought I had relatively settled in my mind–or never dreamt existed.

And yet the words are “fear not” and “I am with you” and “do not be afraid.”

The confusion has not abated, but the fear ebbs and wanes.

Don’t be afraid of the darkness, friends. There is a light that shines in it, brightly, and it is worth the following.

Wondering Aloud

Where do the lines of romance, love and worship blend together? Why do we want to be beautiful, if not to be loved, and do we ever want to be loved without wanting to be worshiped?

Why are superlatives so addictive? I loved it, hated it, most, on and on. Do we no longer know how to express thoughts between “meh” and “mind blown”?

It seems to me that more and more, weaknesses are flaunted. Well, I have ADHD; Well, I had a messed up past; Well, I struggle with depression. I don’t think stoic silence is the way to go, that certain things should only be spoken of in hushed tones and shamed. But I do wonder if it’s really helpful to make everything into a public matter; there’s quite a gap between “silence” and “broadcasting.” Isn’t there a way we could talk about these things without using them as things that define us?

How do you expose the deepest parts of yourself without alienating others? Our spiritual beliefs and our sense of morality lie deeply at the core of who we are. . .yet often when these topics are broached, the conversations turn awkward at best.

Do you really have to make friends, or are true friendships grown almost effortlessly? If it takes that much effort to get off the ground, is it worth wrestling with?

Is it good or bad to paint fairytales in your head, and, regardless, is there really any avoiding it? I begin to think there is nothing that we don’t, truly, have expectations for.

Is civilization worth it? What do we really gain, and what does it really mean to be civilized?

There has got to be a balance between fostering hopes and dreams for the future and living in the present, but I cannot for the life of me find it or define it.

Why? What are you thinking about?