when i’m with you

Hello, all—it feels like ὁ αἰών (an aeon!) since I’ve been able to be here! Annnd in fact it’s been precisely a month between this post and the previous one: thanks/no thanks 6-Week Greek Grammar-! Yet I’ve finished, I’ve passed (don’t “of course you did;” I struggle to memorize, so this was tortuous), I’ve gotten what I needed/hungered for. Right now I’m in a room of my own until 11am checkout time, drinking a doctored McDonald’s mocha. I’m coming to myself once again.

You may remember that during Greek, I mentioned my school-spot and my morning devotional rhythm. Interestingly (to me), I’ve missed it in the few days between my final and today… I must be acquiring a habit. <stunned gasp>

In today’s time, as I sat with God and savored my mocha, I wondered about my new yearning, mild as it is. It felt soft and right to sit in outward silence, occasionally leaning my thoughts away from the day’s upcoming bits and back to coffee/my Friend.

I’ve been assuming that some of my ebbing antsiness ties to my time-in-grade as a human—I hear from reliable sources (and am starting to see for myself) that the older one gets the less sharp the short-term’s grasp becomes. One of those truthful truisms, I suppose, and I have no reason to think it’s not happening to me.

Yet this morning, holding the warm cup and raising my eyes to refocus in the middle distance, I recognized in my movements a sense of myself at my dining table at the close of a meal with My Sweetie.

See, it’s like this. (Have I told you this already? Too bad; here it is anyway.) When our vibrant, energetic daughter flew away to distant kitchens, and our thoughtful (thought-filled!), voluble youngest unleashed herself on university life, the tone and flow of our evening meal changed dramatically. No longer did words and ideas flow seamlessly and ceaselessly in and around each other—overlapping, enhancing, deepening, distracting.

Instead, there were words, and there was silence, entwined.

I had learned to hold kairos from a work-mentor some years before: the non-anxious presence, a self that openly listens while needing nothing for itself. And in these meals, where once my busy brain flitted from flower to leaf, I practiced kairos, saying the things that wanted to be said and then waiting.

This makes it sound more momentous than it was and is. Many of the things that want to be said at dinner are like, “Hey, I won’t be here tomorrow evening because I have a Session meeting. Were you going to come home early to have supper with me beforehand?” or “The discussion in Isaiah-class took a surprising turn today….”

Still, especially in the first years I felt odd waiting at the close of a meal, not reading (phone or book), or vibrating my leg, or, or…. Just drinking my tea, focusing in the middle distance, loosely watching the corner of his eye and the angle of his chin.

And there would be more.
In My Sweetie’s own time, newly unhurried and no longer having to struggle for air, his thoughts unfolded, claimed their space, turned themselves over, and settled in.

I have always wished for meditative time even as I slammed my head against my own limitations of restless urgency and a brain that — when it’s working well — endlessly generates ideas… and the words that go with them.

…I feel a thousand different feelings
The color of chills all over my body
And when I feel them, I quickly try to decide which one
I should try to put into words, oh no…

I’ve been practicing being OK with this, being my internally noisy ownself while yearning for something that feels beyond. It’s startling to notice that, in the meantime, I’ve been practicing my version of the opposite.

So that I can sit this morning while my heart overflows and

Mostly I’m silent
la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

[…It’s] only the beginning of what I want to feel forever
—”Beginnings,” Chicago (Robert Lamm), lyrics courtesy of Genius.com

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