Sunday, December 13, 2015

trust alone.

A chill hung in the air as I clattered into my house, shed my coat, kicked my boots to the side, and collapsed onto the couch. I took one glove off to press a few buttons on the television remote, then put the glove back on, pulled my wool hat tighter over my head, and leaned into the teal and lime pillow. Forty-six minutes, the only forty-six minutes I could rightfully claim as my own on a Tuesday in December. All mine. My eyes were glassy, my brain fuzzy. Forty-six minutes.

In those days, years ago, my seven-minute commute to and from work allowed me to go home on my lunch break. And every day, I'd dash the seven minutes home, craving the temporary haven where no one needed anything from me and my mind could go silent. I'd even eat lunch at my work desk before my break, having packed it that morning to facilitate a full forty-six minutes of Nothing.

It wasn't that I hated my job. No, actually, I loved my job passionately. I chased that job through two Masters degrees, carving positions for myself where they didn't exist, trying to bridge chasms of need, and doing my best to go with the flow as my role morphed and flourished. But I was giving way, way more than I had, and the demands grated against my nature and self, shredding my passion into drudgery. I felt impotent, I felt aimless, I felt restless, and on that December Tuesday, I felt - really cold.

Forty-six minutes were almost up. Almost time to put the remote down, find the boots again, shrug the coat back on, and climb into my car. Then it'd be three miles to get back to work, through a frozen gray landscape, brown slush gurgling under my tires.

And that's when it hit me.

I don't know what to call it. A vision, maybe, is closest. But it wasn't just cerebral; it was physical, maybe even spiritual, and more a sensation than anything else. Also, though, simple. Just me, at a desk, in the purple guest bedroom upstairs at my house - the room I'd sworn I'd paint the second we moved in, now known as the only room in the entire house whose walls haven't been repainted. In the vision, I'm in the purple room, and it's summer. Mild. Green trees lining the quiet street, which I can see because the desk faces the window. I'm home on a weekday, and I'm writing.

The end.


I could have dismissed it. How many others snippets of dreams, while asleep or awake, have I dismissed before? Thousands. Millions! This one, though. Being primarily a sensation, it settled into my heart instead of my head, and there it waited. Patiently, but also impatiently, nudging me every now and then when I started to let it fade. Sometimes I let it fade via neglect; other times, I got pissed at it for teasing me, and I'd reject it. Again and again, though, the vision would brighten in me, and I learned to manage it eventually, carefully acknowledging its existence without succumbing to questioning it. 

Because it didn't make any sense. Forgetting that the desk in that room actually faced a wall in a closet instead of the window, and forgetting that writing wasn't what I did, it felt like the primary question that threatened the vision was: How could I be home on a weekday?! Especially in summertime, the time of year when my workload literally doubled? Ridiculous.


Sometimes you chase dreams, and sometimes they chase you. And these days, if I let myself forget about the specifics (and I urge myself all the time to forget about these specific specifics), I understand that the dream has found me. And that I let it in. Not at first, sometimes by accident, sometimes kicking and screaming, and sometimes tightening my grip when I felt it slipping. It's not the desk in the purple room, although that is the desk where I started writing again; and it's not currently summertime, but it sure was when it was summertime, you know? The sensation within me is now also around me.


One of my best friends feels his journey is about clarity and confidence. We discussed this over sushi the other night. On my long drive back home from dinner with him, it was so foggy, I almost pulled over. The only reason I didn't was because I was afraid someone would hit me if I were stopped on the side of the road. Well, that, and who knew how long it would be before the fog lifted? Seriously, that fog was so thick that I couldn't see bridges coming until I was under them, and I had to use my talking GPS system to navigate a route I've been driving for almost twenty years, since all the highway signs were completely obscured. I don't think I've ever been so relieved to pull into my garage. I had no clarity, no confidence, but I made it.

I had confessed during dinner that I felt stagnant, lost, and totally unsure of my next move or how to fix the mess I'm afraid I've made. My friend said, "Well, maybe you don't need to make a move right now. Maybe you need to let yourself sit with the uncertainty for a little bit."

Sit with the uncertainty. No clarity. No confidence. But I'll make it.


Tonight, it happened again - another dream. I was curled up on the couch again, this time watching Love Actually for the first time, since, like, everyone is saying how it's their favorite Christmas movie. The only lights in the room were from the Christmas tree, perched in front of our glass doors, a crooked star glowing on top. A Norah Jones song started playing in the movie, and that's when it hit me.

I don't know what to call it, since vision and sensation both feel inadequate. It was simultaneously looking back at the first dream, recognizing how it's been fulfilled, and taking in my immediate surroundings, recognizing how I've been fulfilled. And, since I'm lucky like this, it was also a glimpse forward. To what, I don't know, since once again it was more than cerebral or physical or spiritual or sensational. Again, it was all of those and more. In my heart and in my head. A moment where trust alone was all the clarity and confidence I could ever need.

I don't have to know how, or even what. I just have to know.


Good night. Sweet dreams.

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