I am (and have been) fine — physically, emotionally, daily. I wrapped up the semester well, sudden pivot to distance-learning notwithstanding. Clear-eyed, I knew what I wanted to put in place in June to support the rest of my (COVID-emptied) summer and how to go about doing so.
I have perhaps done a tithe of that. That is, 90% of my month’s time has been… well… dissolved like a drip of food coloring into a creek.
I tell myself that the churn of the world is what’s eaten away my attention. And maybe — probably — that’s so, that the time I spend skimming across Twitter and Facebook are churning the banks of my emotions, eroding me like sand. My home life is a beautiful lake, the lives of my not-local children postcards from other lakes; what awakens me at 2am, flips my mind to ON? What draws my pregnenolone into cortisol rather than leaving it for sleep-enhancing progesterone? When I prod my interior, even my not-knowing how my fall classes will play out doesn’t offer a twinge… the classes will happen, after all. The uncertainty is in the format, and I’m merely taking each course, not shaping them.
There’s nothing amiss in my close-in world. Heck, with the summer off, all my frameworks are hand-carved. Sleep until 9? Shrug. If that’s what it takes to counterbalance that 2am flipped switch, so be it.
Is there value in sitting with my current roiling feelings, when they are deep grief for a world that’s so concretely far away? Isn’t even that a bit, ahem, performative?
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”—Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 6:1 (The Message paraphrase)
They do roil. Which is hard to dismiss.
The actions I continue to be called to do won’t, I don’t think, un-roil them.
What is faith-full? What is wise?
I don’t know.
Getting back to sleep seems a good place to start,
always we begin again.
At the same time, having today arrived precisely a month after I “finished everything,” classes-wise, I think I’m also falling into miser-mode, suspecting I’ve pissed thirty days away. Really: unthinking, biologically barely noticeable, nothing to show but perhaps a scorched-looking place on the grass. Don’t I know better? Am I not wiser than that, at least wiser than so 30 much of that?
I was already writing this post in my head when I saw Norris’ tweet. (Oh, yay, more Twitter-?) I ‘heard’ — time an enemy, put to good use, welcome time, gift from God. Already reflecting, I thought — sigh, nope, yes ma’am indeed, oh look I left it in the yard to bleach in the sun.
I’ve read enough of Norris’ work to shake my head at myself — where is the abundance? She is, after all, in the “God’s abundance” camp, where my tent too is pitched. We are called to wise stewardship, sure… and one batch of heat-aged time is neither here nor there.
I can critique (am critiquing) and say: NOT a good use of time! More could have been done!
And I am right now noticing: but I wasn’t used up by that time.
I have taken the time as, in fact, a gift. Truly. Like a child of God with her present.
Baby C1, who at 3.5 years old stopped being a baby since I last mentioned him (and, in fact, has been supplanted in babydom by C2, now nearly 6 months old), got his half-birthday present yesterday-Sunday, as is right and proper. Lola and Lolo got him a ridiculous thing — also right and proper! — an 8′ T-Rex-shaped inflatable that hooks up to a garden hose and sprinkles water.
His parents inflated it, put Hulk hands on the stubby forearms (?), and stood it in the living room. Video evidence indicates that, for now, C1 knocks the T-Rex over, climbs across its torso, drags it along… you name it. Observing, Lolo commented, “He’s gonna pop that thing before he gets it in the backyard.” I replied, “Guess they’ll figure out how to patch it…”
…because I have been drilled since I was first old enough to help give gifts —
how the recipient delights in the gift is their own business.
If the gift delights, one’s gift-giving responsibility has been successfully accomplished.
C1 adores dinosaurs in general, T-Rexes in particular, and also adores climbing things. From here on out, everything else is lagniappe.
I shuffled my feet across my thirty days, stood on my thirty days, draped my brain across kettle-corn-style nuggets of (social-media, or magazine-article) reading over thirty days. I read a few ‘almost-finished’ books, a few new books, fixed some things, hung out with some people, cherished some daughters, exercised. I came up with an idea for a grad school course. And I wrote some things.
If the adult nostalgia for childhood summers is made of a dream of discretionary days strung together, of abundant time deployed according to desire’s overflows, I believe I’ve managed to have one*.
If one of my faith-practices lies in ditching transactional economies (including time-is-money), I’ve apparently done that very thing.
I may be abraded by our current world sorrow-storms. There may be, now that I’m sitting with/writing my feelings, wiser ways for me — moving on — to deploy my gift of time to succor both of us.
At the same time, it’s been a gift. That God gave me, and I’ve been playing with as I saw fit. Can I trust me with my present? Yeah, I expect I can.