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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Broken Plank

I wrote the post below a couple weeks ago. It was easy enough to write, true emotion always is, but I couldn't hit publish. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because I haven't been able to hold your emotion lately so why would you want to read mine? But then, I got an email from Parenthood for Me saying, amazingly, unbelievebly, that she was hoping to win Lori's limerick chick contest again and if she did her plan was to amazingly, unbelievebly -- donate money to Share Southern Vermont.

And then she did.

And I was shocked to realize that much like a high-school exchange student you connect intimately with your junior year, then don't see again for many more -- the connection we made last year couldn't be severed by afternoon appointments, evenings spent pouring over power-point presentations, or even going back to work.

You are still there. I am still here. Our paths cross far less but our bonds are strong. Thank you Erika. Thank you Lori. You reminded me that friendship is a give and take relationship. Sometimes, you have a lot to give. Sometimes, you have to take a bit more.

So, hold my raw emotion please....for I am drowing here in over-committed land, even when huge, prayed-for things are happening. Hoping to come up for air soon.

(two weeks ago)

Sleep is elusive, at best, lately.

I have long nights to ponder this. I am, as I have so elequently put recently, "wildly over-committed, but fine". To this obvious contradiction in terms a friend, speaking of himself, spoke my acutal truth. "Ha!" he said just a hint of whimsy in his voice, I'm wildly over-commited and not fine. "

On paper it all works. On paper a tutoring session from 9am to 10am puts me in my car by 10:10 and at church by 10:15, allowing just enough time to set up the Sunday School lesson that an indescript number of children will stomp down the stairs for at about 10:30 - give or take.

In reality, it doesn't. It really, really doesn't.

On spreadsheets, the numbers compute. 25 teaching hours + 10 in the car + weekly appointments + time with kids, a clean kitchen after dinner, laundry in drawers, and still there is time: evening hours to run a non-profit, to organize the next big event, to maintain that level of connectedness with the grievers who are brave enough to walk through a heavy library door every month for support.

In reality, the board of directors is worried about me. I can tell. They are finally standing up to me, taking both partial and complete tasks out of my gripped hands. I trust them, explicitly. I'm releasing, a lot.

And still, I fret.

As a youth my need to lead, to control, was about affirmation. To hear my name called, to recieve an award, to know that others took notice of my actions. That is youth for you. Later, the drive came from within, no longer concerned with the world's particular take on my forward progress, but only allowing celebration after reaching my self-imposed goal. What a number I could do on myself if I quit early, if I failed to sink that 8 ball in the corner pocket.

And this is the amazing thing. Currently, it is neither of these admittedly self-serving motivations that plagues me. Everything will get done. Events will be amazing. People will be served. Hospitals will embrace our offer of support. These things always come together. I trust life enough to know that now.

No, what is far more unsettling for me is that I seem to have lost my center. The sense of purpose mixed with peace; the awareness that fueled my forward motion has dimmed.

Our microwave broke this week. My husband, convinced he can lay his contractor hands on anything and tweak them back to life threw those same hands up in utter frustration today. "I just don't get it!" he exclaimed, "Everything works, the fan, the power source, the rotating tray. It just doesn't have any heat!"


Last year, I had nothing but time. I had a strong sense of direction. I had a handle on the many rivers of my life that fed the ocean. I had peace. I had meditation. I had guidance. I had writing. I had this space, almost daily. I had you. I had something so intensely special that people often look their whole lives and never find it: purpose.

Here is what I didn't have: fear. Often I found myself unsure where I was on that path, but never did I doubt that I was on the wrong one.

I am that microwave. All the part of my life are still there, the book, the blog, the support group, the memoralizing events, my kids, my husband, my angelic daughter, the magazine - but the heat is conspiciously absent.

I posed this question to another friend recently. How do you make peace with your daily life when you know what you actually want to do and what it feels like to do it? I mean, I got how young kids, older adults even, who never figured out their life's purpose muddled through a strange variety of test days wondering if tomorrow would be the day when the epiphany struck. When their path would emerge clearly and their journey would offically begin. But how do you go back to milk when you have tasted the cream?

Its a strange sensation really, walking through each day knowing exactly what you want to do, recalling the full-body reaction to the illuminated path then turning 180 degrees and stepping into an over-crowded, rocky opening, squinting to see where it may lead you.

This is temporary. That I know for sure, for it is the only way that I can navigate that path everyday when the other shines so brightly, lit up with possibility and promise. I suppose I should be grateful really that I know my future at all, that I found the 'thing' that inspires me.

"You light up whenever you talk about it." This is what my husband says. So, why then, is it so surprising that I shouldn't want to talk about it all day, everyday even? Why then, wouldn't I want to devote all my working hours to developing it?

To be ahead of your time is a cruel affliction indeed. I no idea if anyone famous ever said this but I imagine they did. Hindsight might be ugly, but I believe that foresight can be a source of burning frustration.

"You can't eat an elephant in a day." This was said, by someone very influential in my life. Apparently I took a very big bite. I'll let you know when I'm done chewing on it.

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Time Is Both My Best Ally and My Worst Enemy: My Meltdown 8 Years Later