First of all: No. You haven’t lost time–it has been mere days since I last posted, not months (as is my custom). You weren’t expecting to see me again so soon, and honestly I wasn’t expecting myself to have anything to say so soon. That is because we internalize, Precious. We internalize like a mofo.
I’m on a two-year moving cycle. When we hit two years in a place, I’m ready to leave. I start backing away from commitments. I decline invitations. I stop watering my plants. I start throwing out a lot of stuff and filling boxes with useless possessions. I clear out pantries. I go to Costco less often.
This is all very effective when on the cusp of a move.
This is not at all helpful when one is not going anywhere.
After an event one day, I was given two extra nice loaves of bread. I didn’t need them and I thought one of the many many homeless people I pass every day might appreciate them more. I was feeling pretty good about helping someone out and couldn’t wait to see the guy I pass almost every day at one of the stoplights on the way to school. He wasn’t there, but another guy was. I asked if he would like some bread and then presented him with the bag. He was very cheerful and smiled, thanking me, saying he had some little bird friends who would love this bread.
…Um. Ok. If that makes him happy. Sure. Why not.
Then the awkward waiting for the light to turn green. I sort of wished I had saved a loaf for the other guy I see every day at the other stop light.
It’s a frantic sort of feeling. I want to be doing something. I need to be moving on. I have to compartmentalize emotions and rank them in order of Freak-Out Worthiness. Cuz, make no mistake, there will be freaking out. How much does it cost to ship a vehicle? What is the school situation? IS THERE A CHICK-FIL-A? Should I be stockpiling winter clothes that are on mad crazy sale here? The garage needs to be cleaned out. Borrowed books need to be retreived.
One of my dearest friends just moved away. It was gut-wrenching. It cut yet another chord loosely holding me here. It further advanced the feeling of Get The Hell Out of Dodge.
But there’s nowhere to go yet.
I came to the stoplight the next morning and there was my bag of bread.
Hanging like a head of one of Turendot’s victims off a chain-link fence.
The effing little bird friends couldn’t even get at the loaves.
This pre-move self has been around for six months now. That’s six months of heart clenching reluctance to invest any more emotion, energy, or growth than absolutely necessary. I’ve rearranged furniture to make my home feel different. I impulse buy out-of-character clothing at Target. It helps, but I’m not fooling Pre-Move Self. Ya know what doesn’t help? The fact that the weather is a constant 87 degrees. It could be loads worse, I know…East Coasters put your snow-shovels down…, but I feel like there is no passage of time. It’s maddening. I’m both wasting time and stagnant in it.
I was flooded with shame at that stoplight. It felt like everyone knew it was my bag of bread getting gross in the hot sun. Offensive. Condescending. Wasted. What a stupid thing to do, giving someone bread. How arrogant. He probably thought I was giving him old bread. Stale bread. Bread no one else wanted. Bread that would insult even the birds. Not the good stuff. Better to leave it in the bag.
I know in my brain that it’s foolish to squander the time left with my friends here, but my heart is already grieving having to leave them. My kids are in such a gloriously fun stage of life and I want to enjoy it, but I sort of hope the days go quickly so we can find out where we’re going next. I have responsibilities here; there are things I’m supposed to be doing. But I don’t care enough. I’m cutting corners.
But I don’t want them to remember me as someone who gave them only the leftovers. I want to be a real friend. I want my kids to have a mom who not only has a vague idea of what games they’re playing over there, but is also a character in them. I want to be present and useful in what I’ve committed myself to.
There’s a plant on our porch that’s been without water for months. It used to be awesome. Bloomed bright pink waxy flowers for 2 years. Until I let it die. Slowly. And on a lot of purpose. Now it looks like a cactus.
I want to plan.
I can’t plan.
This vexes me. And then I decided to really engage in the Bible study I’m sort of a leader in… Remember the story about feeding the 5,000? Remember how He did it twice? Yeah, neither did I. He did it twice. In a short amount of time. But the second time when all the people got hungry the disciples were all, “What are we going to do?! How can we possibly feed all these people with a few loaves and fish?!” And I was right there with Jesus,
The exasperating truth is: I want to plan, and planning is good. But I need to trust.
Then one day, after I’d given this guy up for gone, I noticed this.
No new leaves. Just flowers. Just the good stuff.