Life is busy. It makes it hard to know what to write.
Do I talk about the memoir I just finished reading? The books on my nightstand waiting to be opened? (My metaphorical nightstand, anyway. I actually haven’t had one in years.) How about my experiences with language, and my renewed desire to study kanji? Or schooling children overseas? The culture of Japan? The reasons I’m both sad and happy to live as an expatriate? What about coffee and our inch-by-inch movement toward opening a roaster? All the things I’m learning about graphic design on the fly? Or direct trade and relationship coffee? What about how we’ve managed to cultivate a thriving, appreciative marriage in the midst of craziness and stress? How my creative husband continues to surprise me? What about depression and hope? How about raising empathatic kids through empathetic parenting, along with all the ways I’ve failed in empathy? Or Jesus healing and actually changing my inner life, in ways I never thought possible? How He abolished the guilt I used to live with daily and thought I’d carry to my grave? Or what about the struggle of disliking the home God has provided, and the contant tug between true gratitude and desire to move, immediately? What about the dailies with an 8-year-old and a baby, with two more kids in between? (That’s a book in and of itself. These monkeys.)
OR: I arrange my cappuccino in the sunlight of this cafe table, snap a photo, and post it to facebook with a two sentence caption. Much easier.
So, things are quiet here at High Countries. I often show up, maybe once a week. I open my computer and end up staring into the spaces between moments, hoping for focus and will. I usually find that I’m lacking in direction (What to write about again? Oh dear.), so I sigh and close the computer. Somewhere, in some room, a kid is crying anyway. I’m needed, and it’s so normal to not have much thought time that I’ve started to not even miss it — I can’t even remember what it was like to sit at The Mill, refill my coffee mug a zillion times and just dive dive dive into words and ideas and pictures from my mind. After I became unexpectedly pregnant at 22, I angered for those moments. It’s sad and hard to admit, but I was pissed at the little baby that took that away from me, while aching for him with strength I couldn’t understand. It made things hard between us for quite some time. And then, after mining those depths with God and learning the beauty of self-sacrifice, I was pissed about the things my precious firstborn had missed because of my immaturity. (Sigh.) God has redeemed so much, and brought understanding that each child of mine, first to last, was given in that order for a purpose — theirs and mine.
He has also brought understanding, however slight, of the seasons of my life — how there is a time for learning language and a time for tireless work. There is a time for an unused intellect and a time for rest. There will be a time when these babes grow older that my focus will return, and I’ll still have more than half my life left to dig and discover, to think and write. I suppose that’s why I can sigh and close the computer now, because I’ve released my iron grip on the idea that youth is the only time you can do new things, set out on new adventures. I reject that, wholeheartedly. I will be pushing my way into new scenarios as I age, bringing wisdom and gray hairs along with me.
Sometimes, I feel as if I’m missing something at 31, no career or specific work to put my name under. There is a nagging undertow in my thinking, that if I don’t do it, learn it, write it NOW, it will never happen. It’s as if the world wants me to think the best parts are behind me, that I’ve given them away to my little people and there will be nothing left once they’ve grown. But really, I’m just beginning.