Fewer and farther between...
Nowadays when I look back over my six-month history of blogging, I feel like I’ve let up, like I’ve stopped writing as much as I used to. And the truth is that in volume and frequency, I do write less than I did late last fall. When I am drifting off to la-la land late at night at the end of a blog-less day, often I will snap my fingers and chide myself for not writing something, for not reviewing a book, for not analyzing a poignant moment that took place over the course of my day. I certainly haven’t stopped thinking as seriously and carefully about my life now as I was in November or December. I certainly haven’t stopped reading good books. I’ve even taken to rereading some of the juicier ones. At the moment, I’m rereading Nickel and Dimed because somehow I talked my book group into reading it, and we will be discussing it at tomorrow night gathering.
What has changed is this: rather than analyzing and writing about life as much as I used to, I have begun to just live my life, enjoying it to the fullest, falling off to sleep at night completely spent and completely satiated. The surgical slicing and dicing that blogging had turned into is less appealing to me now than it was just a few short months ago.
For example, in the crazy pace of our recent journey to England, I had much less time to write. From morning until night we wandered, explored, toured, examined, and investigated as many sights as we could. We ate at fabulous Chinese, Indian, and Italian restaurants. We took hundreds of pictures. We walked and shopped and gazed and gawked and haggled and strolled, but we filled in precious few pages of our family vacation journal. I didn’t even cut out much time to write in my own journal. And my usual two dozen postcards mailed off to family and friends? Not this time. I spent far more time with my hand on my chin in wonder than with my hand on my pen and paper in reflection.
This past weekend, I made a quick turn around trip to New York City for the funeral of my sister-in-law’s mother. I flew into LaGuardia Airport on Sunday afternoon, rented a car, and drove to Teaneck, New Jersey for the viewing of her body at the funeral home. Four of her five children were there. And there was a stream of friends and family that came through that quiet lounge to see her one last time, but more importantly to talk about the legacy of her life. From there, I drove south to Princeton, New Jersey to spend the night with another sister-in-law and my two nieces. We talked and laughed, shared stories of travel, and ate a wonderful dinner. Up early yesterday morning, I made my way back to northern New Jersey for the funeral service. The stories her family and friends told of her full life, her busy life, her compassionate life were yet another reminder of the importance of giving of oneself to others, of focusing on the wants and needs of loved ones rather than on oneself.
Forget all the third person stuff – as I sat there listening, I was awed by the tales of her generosity of spirit, her love for children, and her determination to make her life as bright and wide-ranging and glorious it could be despite the fact that her husband left her with five children to raise, a mortgage to pay, and no real reason for the abandonment. It struck me that I tend to focus so much on the recording of my life, on the distilling of the facts and the parsing of each day’s events that I don’t just live my life. I don’t simply enjoy what’s happening to me; I gather material. I sort through the evidence of a life well lived and search for details that will fill the lines of a journal page and the paragraphs of a blog with clever witticisms and well-turned phrases. While I certainly would love to be known as a good writer, I would much rather be known as a fearlessly loving, generous, kind, passionate, and compassionate woman. In order to be that woman, I've gotta get up from the keyboard and get out into the world, and be the wife, the mother, the daughter, the sister, the friend, and the truly unique person I've always dreamed I could be.
So I have decided to let myself off the hook. I will no longer berate myself for missing a day or a week or even a month here online. I cannot imagine missing that long in my journal, but if I do miss a few, that’s okay too. When I had more time and fewer demands on my life, when the afternoon skies were dark and there were no soccer practices or other activities to pull me away from my computer, then writing was more natural and appropriate. But with Charlotte’s sunny spring days, with the grass and flowers in full bloom, with friends and neighbors calling regularly, out for driving and walking in the evening, and dropping by unexpectedly, I have found greater joy in relating face-to-face than finger-to-keyboard. As the days lengthen, as the calendar fills up with soccer games, play dates, and nights out with Steve, as the day of our departure for Spain approaches, and with two Bibles studies to prepare for and teach (and one is in Spanish!), these blogs will probably be fewer and farther between. But such is this life of mine… gloriously full.
PS. Only five minutes ago, I came across a quote and an idea that I want to develop for a blog tomorrow or Thursday. I guess these fingers have a lot more typing in them yet…