I’m on my second cup of coffee and it’s well before 7 a.m. I’ve woken up at 5 without an alarm for the second morning in a row. This is unusual. My stomach flirts with the idea of rejecting the scalding black liquid I keep sending down into it because it wants to be asleep like my teenagers are, but I keep on sipping.
Being awake turns out to be what I need. Now I can think in straight lines. The breath of the box fan tethers my brain to the real, though, if I’m honest, the real isn’t strictly better than the dreams.
The world has lost its mind, like I’m sometimes sure I’m losing mine, and this forces me to ponder Things That Matter. Should I have had another baby, I wonder, now that the kids are stretching toward adulthood like the potted ivy on my side table? (There is nothing like housing a human in one’s core to realign everything). But there’s the self-destructing world–that giant live coal that blisters our souls as we walk on it. There’s us.
And that’s when I realize I’ve been tired for a long, long time.
I reach for my coffee mug, but this time my stomach is not playing around. I need more than caffeine can offer anyway.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” he says to me, to us.
I fill up my lungs, let the air out slow. I close my rusted eyes and choose to believe Him again.
I’m leaving the country tomorrow (for the third time this year) and it’s the same old thing: the scrambling to get things done while feeling a familiar tightening of chest muscles, the failure to match nouns with verbs.
It’s a privilege to go. I’m aware of that. And I’ll get on board, literally and figuratively, in about 30 hours. Until then, I think about my kids and how they’ll get along while I’m gone. I think about my husband. Will he secretly watch new episodes of The Blacklist without me? I probably would if I were him. And will someone think to put the pink coat on our dachshund, Amy, if the weather gets colder next week? She needs that coat.
Amy (left) and her husband, Frodo.
I studied in Vienna when I was in college. I remember feeling trepidation when I boarded the plane to head overseas with a fellow American student from my university. But it wasn’t because of all I was leaving behind. It was because of the future.
That was years ago. Since then I’ve traveled to five different continents (and lived on three), so I don’t feel those travel butterflies quite like I used to. Now I head into the air trying to send one more I love you text to the people who are holding my heart until I come back home again.
The thing is, in the stacks, when you are alone
and the florescent lights are so insistent in the coughing quiet,
and you have nowhere you need to be,
and the world is seven inches from your face (as you shift your weight from one sandal to the other),
and you are small, and there is so much hope,
and so much everything
and the buzzing of those stupid energy-saving lights is a mantra,
so that you feel a miniature sob slip up your lungs
because you are so happy,
you remember things.