Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Feeling Lost at Sea

I read two posts by Debbie over at Artful Inspirations this morning. Immediately I knew that she was writing about what was troubling me, what was churning quietly around inside.
I am close to 50. I've nearly finished raising my children; I have no more little ones. I think perhaps I have done all the teaching I will do. God doesn't seem to have the classroom in my immediate future, and I can't imagine doing it again, when I'm nearly 60 and Julia has finished high school.
For the first time ever in my married life, I have neither little children nor a full-time job to occupy me.
I feel restless. Debbie's posts talk about the calm of the sea. I love that.
There's also the mesmerizing calm that comes from watching fire.
And the utter quiet of watching the massive mountain ranges. Some things on earth reduce one to feeling one's smallness physically. This in turn expands the mind -- the one advantage I seem to have over sea, fire and land. As I watch them, I think.
I am wondering what to do with myself. I know I'm busy, kind of. I'm crocheting and knitting, singing and cleaning, biking and visiting, reading and writing some. But I'm not used to a life full of little pieces. None of them seems like enough.
The peace of the sea is not adequate to my unquiet. It calms me for a moment. God calms the raging soul and, with faith, can keep it placid and content all its life.
During times like these of inner unrest, I know what's happening; I can feel it growing inside me. There's a welling of creativity, and I have to wait for it to mature and reach the point when I must write. I know other writers don't do it this way. They're disciplined, and some write every day. I wish I could, but so far, I don't. The last book I wrote, Greenfield Civil Wars, I penned the entire last chapter in about an hour, as my daughter waited for it, simply because it was ready. It was time. It came effortlessly.

That was a few months ago. I wonder what will be born this time? I know I have to feed this creativity with the right nourishment, the right ideas, the right experiences and things to look at. The right conversations.

Election-year politics is not it. Personal wranglings, family troubles and natural disasters are not it. If you wonder why artists and writers tend to remove themselves from things that others find important, this is why. They must be careful what they feed the soul, because it is the reservoir of the new, emerging created thing. If that doesn't make sense to you, that's okay. It barely makes sense to me.

I don't write when I work full-time outside the home. I only write worthwhile material when I'm at home, ruminating, vaguely bothered that I'm not working. Rather bothered that I'm not yet writing either. If I write less here, sometimes soon, you'll know it's because I'm using my words elsewhere. Let's hope so!


  1. Looking forward to what may come... :)
    I think you are exactly where you should be. :) a more abstract sense...I think we'll always feel somewhat unsettled this side of heave.

  2. Hi MK!
    I liked the reminder of AML's Gift from the Sea, too. I admit it is easier for me to surrender to the "lots of little pieces" when I know my quiet time is limited and school duties and concerns are looming. I think you'll be writing and writing, using your true voice as time allows. We so lean towards qualifying our use of time. Why do we? Inspiration is not always dependable but it is always good. God has you in that little town because that little town will be YOUR current teacher. I want to embrace my teachers. You definitely are embracing your circumstances with your biking and walking, working at the market. It's no coincidence that you are the age you are and that you live where you do. Oh, we do serve a brilliant God! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. You're a truth teller.

  3. I'm much in the same boat as you. The same age, children leaving home, and etc. I was concerned about my time at one point too, but it is amazing to me how God fills up our days with good things that we hadn't anticipated. I do still help on the ranch, but I don't have children and homeschooling anymore. The grandchildren take up a nice chunk of time and then there are just a million other little things that do. I don't mind working in small chunks of time. I always have and I probably always will. Mother Teresa said something -- "We can do no great things; only small things with great love." That's the way it seems to work best for me.



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