In wonderment.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

There's this woman that lives down the street from us.  She's older, probably in her mid-80's.
Her husband gone a few years now.  
She lives alone in this little stucco house on the corner.
A swing built for two sits idly by in the backyard beneath the trees, creaking in the winter winds. 
She drives down the street too damn fast in her Buick LeSabre.
Too fast for my liking anyway, you know, with me trying to keep the kids alive and all.
On warm May days, she hangs her clothes to dry on a clothesline strung from old pine to old pine.
She has a statue of Mary in her yard next to a porcelain bunny.  Makes me smile when I walk by.  
I've always found yard ornaments to be odd, but endearing.
And when the weather is fair like this, she takes short walks around the block WHILE reading a book.  
This takes talent, people.  A book in one hand held up at eye level, her other arm dangling at her side.  I watch her in awe, so impressed by this.
I would for SURE be running in to trees and light posts, stepping in dog poop and tripping on sticks, tumbling over curbs.  
But she walks with the grace and ease of a ballerina, balancing that book softly between her thumb and fingertips.
Amazing.  I want to do that.  
I wonder about her.
Well, I wonder about a lot of things on cold, evening walks with Lucy, as she yanks me past the old houses in Stillwater, the dimly-lit living rooms under flickering porch lights.
(Yes, this is clearly a daytime picture.  But what most of our walks look like right about now. . .her leading the way.  Me tripping and cursing.)
But the evenings, when all is quiet aside from my boots sliding across patches of ice.
Lucy stops every two seconds to bury her head in snow or to follow the cracks in the sidewalk with her nose, so I have plenty of time to watch and wonder about the people that live beside me in this world.
But she fascinates me, this neighbor.
I wonder if she thinks of her husband every day, if she talks to the space in front of her, as if he's there?
If she misses him so much it hurts?
Or if after awhile, the pain of loss and loneliness subsides and you just sort of stop thinking about them, knowing and trusting you'll be with them again someday?
Time has a funny way of moving us away from our grief, I think. 
Maybe not for a LONG time, but it does happen.
We forget what they sounded like, smelled like, how they moved about the house, laughed. Time takes over.  Kind of comforting, how that happens. . .dulls the pain a bit, I would think.

But I wonder if she feels alone ever.  In that little house by herself.  Or if her social calendar is so plum-full that she doesn't have time to miss him.  Or if her relationship with God is so strong, and she knows the real truth now. . .that no matter what, all will be well.  That she doesn't have to waste any more time grieving or wallowing in loneliness and can free up space for more "present" things,
you know, like read-walking and hanging clothes on the line and tending to the roses in her yard.
She can live what's left of THIS life, the best she can.  Knowing and trusting there's more to come.

And then there's the even older woman the next block down.  Who always, no matter the time of day, has her TV on full blast.  You can hear it from the street and 
I wonder if that keeps her company.  I know how hard it is to sit in silence, in a quiet house. To be alone with your own thoughts.
Only the dog to converse with. . .
and well?  She's not very talkative.
So much easier to have background noise to distract you, no?
I wonder if that old TV is her constant companion as she lives out HER remaining days.
Those are things I think about (very exciting, I know.)
I've had to really learn how to just be where I am now with out projection, anticipation or forcing things to happen by my own will.
ALLOW things to unfold naturally and as always, ACCEPT what is, even if I don't like it.
Rising with the sun, uttering prayers of gratitude to God for giving me another chance to try again,
going to bed at night the same.
Giving thanks.
What else is there?

Where do you go when you've been cracked wide open and life has been narrowed down significantly to the bare bones of "BASIC" living, has become a more "quiet" and mindful way of being in the world?
Much like the quiet lives of these old neighbor ladies?
Now I think "basic" is pretty frickin' great.  Hanging clothes on a line.  Trimming rose bushes.  Reading.  Walking.  Thinking about nothing and everything.
I have so much gratitude for "basic" living now.
It is enough.  
When God fills all the broken parts of you and smooths out the rough edges and TELLS you you're enough, well, this life, no matter how slow, boring, mundane, is WAY more than enough.  

I pray and talk to God and wake each day reminding myself to keep trusting in God, to LET HIM guide my steps forward moment by moment and trust that surrender alone, over and over and over, will continue to bring me forward and lead me to my purpose, if I haven't met it yet.
Man, that's SO HARD to do.  To relinquish control and live my days with someone else at the helm, HIM. 

Creativity has always been a strong fire burning within me. 
When those flames were temporarily extinguished and I had to learn to ditch my ego-fed life,
I was whittled down to simply getting up, getting through the day, caring for my children and home the best I could and going to bed and doing it all over without completely losing my shit or jumping off a bridge.  
Not a whole lot different now, I suppose, but with a different appreciation for emptiness, gratitude for it, seeing now "emptiness" can also mean expansive space, 
where the rest of my life can unfold from.
Worth every ounce of suffering to see that.
And to finally know the truth, I don't always have to look ahead.
It'll show up if it's supposed to.
In the meantime, I'm reminding myself DAILY (and this is so hard for me,) that sitting, keeping quiet, being still, does not mean I'm "going nowhere."  
It's hard for someone who has always done things fearlessly and determinedly to just 
BE STILL.  
BE THE SIMPLE SELF.
EVEN BE NOTHING.

This requires a buttload of patience and trust.
So, to assuage my impatience and lack of direction, I catch myself often, watching others. Observing their odd yet beautiful habits.
I am open and listening and hearing so much more.
We are fascinating being's.  Every last one of us.
So I watch
and wait.




4 comments:

Katie Oliveira said...

Pregnant and crying while reading this. Great post. Love your blog and Instagram, which I discovered a couple of years ago through my love of Stillwater.

Sara said...

Damn I loved this post. I drive to and from Stillwater every day...and often wonder about those in the charming turn of the century homes. Based on your stories...there are some amazing people living in them. Including yourself.

Janay said...

LOVE, just Love. Thank you so much for this…you have NO idea how much I needed to hear/read this.

Sofi said...

you made me cry. Beautiful post. Thanks! Kisses from Argentina.

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