There are many roads we travel just once, and there are others we visit again and again. This afternoon, like so many afternoons before, I heard the sound of a voice abandoned. And as I headed out the door to walk in the park, I felt that familiar tingle of a road I recognize. It is such a good thing to remember it – the call to pay attention and abandon the self. To be absorbed into something greater and to make note of the world unfolding, transforming itself into something new every moment.
I’m reminded that we can also be transformed.
This I know to be true: no matter how far I run, or fly, or hide from the work, it’s always there waiting. The pen calling to be used, the imagination painting meaning, the heart saying, go deeper. How did it become so difficult to record? And so difficult to be still enough?
No matter; this is a post about returning: changed, but ready to work again.
Author Anne Lamott writes, “It is easy to sense and embrace meaning when life is on track. When there is a feeling of fullness — having love, goodness, family, work, maybe God as parts of life…”
And when life feels off track, it is just as easy to lose our way. We can run in circles searching for what has changed, and how to fix it, but that rarely leads us home. Oftentimes, we just have to be patient, and forge ahead a day at a time until we can see the light again.
“Most of us have figured out that we have to do what’s in front of us and keep doing it… Every time we choose the good action or response, the decent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice…”
As Lamott writes, it is by the tiniest motions that we can find the road again that leads us back to our whole selves.
Meanwhile, I’ve been attempting to leap and sprint, or build a new road altogether. And let me say from personal experience, it doesn’t do much good to take arms against your life like that. Sure, there’s always a time for fighting the good fight, but not the bad one. Not the self-defeating one that demands “change now!”
“If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching,” Lamott wisely points out.
Wouldn’t life be sweet if we could trust that gentle, slow hand that threads the needle, drives it into the dark fabric and brings it up again, changed and refreshed? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to forget the need of knowing how it all turns out? The truth is that moment by moment, we have the opportunity to be amazed and to stay awake.
So in honor of the tiniest motions, here is a very tiny poem, and with it, the recovery of a stitch:
What more am I
than the observer
of mottled sunlight
casting amber waves
across the kitchen cabinet,
and a bowl split open,
revealing the tender ribs
of the sky?