My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
Today I wondered what is the worth of a day? So begins the first chapter of The Folded Clock--a book by Heidi Julavits. The material comprises two years in the life of the author in diary form. And as might be expected, the story takes on the surprise, humor, delight and ambivalence of her life, because that is reality.
I can relate. I attempt to focus on that very delicate balance of keeping life "day to day." I often fail, allowing the past to poke around in my psyche. "Oh God, if only I hadn't spent that money," or "I should have not said that or eaten that huge piece of pie." Sometimes I shift gears, and it's not ghosts noisily clamoring in my past, but rather anxieties spooling their way into my future like coarse thread. "I don't think I'll ever be able to finish that book project--I'm not good enough. I don't know enough. What if my health doesn't hold out? I'm getting old." I know that this type of thinking is not helpful, so I constantly go back to the concept of what I call "increments." Taking life in small steps and noticing the good helps me more than anything. And this is a coping tool that is not new. Jesus talks about the concept in Matthew 6:34 (The Message): Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
This week I found a penny. When I find pennies, I always look at the year and determine what was happening for me at the time. The year was 1975. I had lost contact with Giovanni. We could not bridge a relationship with an ocean between--we faded from each others' lives. I was heartbroken and trying to make sense of my reality without him. I wrote constantly--the page like a window in the wall of my tattered emotions. That year was also when I was born-again--Jesus made real in my life--His salvation and healing another window in the wall.
"The most precious gift that marriage gave me was the constant impact of something very close and intimate, yet all the time unmistakably other."~C.S. Lewis
I must have walked four miles in the rain. I hadn't been out in a while--battling an infection and just trying to hold my own at work. My life felt as if the margins were much too thin--hardly room to jot a few notes on the sides of the page. The soaking rain pelted my skin and was like God Himself refreshing me with His Spirit. With each step, I seemed to get a little more clarity, a little more breathing room, my margins increasing.
I woke up with a feeling of heaviness. Somewhere in a shadowy place I might have dreamed of elephants. Was this the heaviness? Random images barreled through my thoughts like a runaway freight train. I remembered my friend from sixth grade--sitting in the limbs of the tree in her backyard; I dreaded that I had a lot to do. I looked at the book on my bedside table. I read a few chapters before I went to bed, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what I'd read. I had guests. I needed to get up. I felt tired. Before I placed my feet on the hardwood floor, I was decimated with too many thoughts. And most of them were negative.
The call came early Monday morning. My colleague had suffered a stroke, so stated his wife. And then another problem--a heart problem--surgery needed. "But he's too weak after the stroke to undergo surgery, so we'll have to wait for several weeks." I felt devastated. Carl and I have worked together for over 15 years. He is the "Frick" to my "Frack" (of NPR's "Car Talk"). He can tell what kind of day I'm having by the sound of my clicking pumps in the hallway. I know what all his nonverbals mean. We are like brother and sister. I was freefalling without him.