Hope and the O.D.D

I am beginning to think of this blog as my Occasional Death Diary since it seems all I do is wait for someone dear to me to pass away and then blog about it. At the end of May, my last living grandparent went to be with Jesus. To say her going left a hole in my center is an understatement. She took my childhood with her.

And yet. Life plods on, intrepid, slow, determined. I have three teenagers and a best friend for a husband. I have my parents and my sisters, and, well, stuff keeps me here. I’m still running in my neighborhood, still reading big books, and writing. It may seem dramatic to say, but I’m a little surprised and offended by my survival instinct. We keep going, most of us, with bloodied hearts. It turns out, that’s normal. Jesus had a bloodied heart, too, once. Someday he will make all things new. Until then, he is with us, and we press on.

Advertisements

Grace

psx_20160607_131406

I miss this blog. I can’t commit to it and I can’t abandon it, which everyone says is the worst thing if you’re a writer. Commit or let go. Don’t waste your time or, on second thought, waste it over here, in this way, on this platform. Post pictures.

I throw things away. It gives me pleasure to fill bags with things to toss, things to donate, things to pass on to friends. I like empty spaces where my eyes can rest and blur. I have a very few items I keep without secret plans of ridding the house of them one day: my grandmother’s diamond studs, my cello, the photo albums I’ve put together over the years, the journal I kept in college (written in German and full of foolish things).

I tried to toss the blog, but I couldn’t. There are things that persist past their evident usefulness, things that collect dust and grow obsolete, you know? But I find as I get older I’m less inclined to scoop every, single thing into a bag at the first sign it isn’t earning its keep. I tell myself I need a few curled up, uncategorized placeholders in my life, that it’s OK if I don’t come back to sit with them except once in a long while, and then only because I want to.

Further Up, Further In

psx_20160512_125110Recently, I went back and read the first post I ever published on this blog, and it reminded me why I started blogging in the first place. I’d just come back to the U.S. after living in India for three years. I was grieving. I didn’t know how I was supposed to be in this new/old culture. Writing helped me to bear witness to the confusion of repatriation and to the eventual clarity that time and distance gifted me.

After a while, cultural commentary/navel gazing snippets morphed into other kinds of posts, some about homeschooling, some about learning how to be a stay-at-home mom without losing myself completely. And then there were updates about the new global adventures I ended up on, ones I didn’t see coming.

But then I wrote a novel. And another one, and then one after that. I still blogged, but it felt different, like digging in a sandbox without a shovel. This summer I attended an enormous writers conference where I thought, This whole fiction writing thing isn’t beyond my reach after all. And I didn’t blog once.

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Last Battle,

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…come further up, come further in!”

He gave these words to a noble character named Jewel, and he wasn’t talking about writing, but about Aslan’s Country. Still I resonate with them when I think about writing stories.

Which brings me to this: I’ve been thinking I need to step away from blogging. It’s been enormously helpful for me to write about what bubbled to the surface of my brain these last few years, but now my brain is full of fiction. I won’t delete this space, but it may gather dust. Or, who knows, I may come back to it one day when I need it most. But I suspect I’ll probably just keep writing–and living–stories.

Thanks for reading. It’s meant a lot.

Feet on the Ground

Today officially kicks off our Fall break.  And, boy, do we love us some breaks around here.  We’re going out of town this weekend to visit family, which is always nice, and feels like a set of pleasant parentheses in our holiday sentence.

I’m doing a little brain dump before getting away from Internetland for a bit.  I was just going to say, you know how parenting keeps you humble?  How kids say ridiculous things that embarrass you and put you in your place?  How you can’t ever know for sure if you’re doing parenting “right”, and you want to say there isn’t a right way, necessarily, so that you feel less pressure, but you don’t actually believe that so you keep trying and hoping that things turn out for your kids, but you can’t force them to?

Ah, me.

Well, it turns out that blogging keeps you humble, too, but in a funnier, less existential angsty way.  Do you know what is the number one search that leads people to this blog?

‘Need help.  Waking up with one eye open and one eye closed.

It turns out that this is a huge, ongoing issue for a lot of people.  Just imagine their disappointment when they land on this blog after looking for solutions to their eye problems.

Imagining their disgust as they skim posts about homeschooling and writing and feelings keeps my feet on the ground.

Happy Fall.