What, exactly, have you been doing? people ask me in my first week sans “real job.”
I blink at them like a mole who’s just emerged into the sun. I have no idea.
But then, I realize that I do know:
Thinking. I’ve been thinking, and writing a lot of it down. I’ve been making a list of what I’m good at: helping people, solving problems, fixing things, and making them better. It’s why I like editing. I can see what others can’t.
Quieting. I’ve been quiet, and have been quieting the world around me, such as I can. I’ve been keeping my phone on “do not disturb,” trying to retrain myself not to react like Pavlov’s dog to every chime, twing, and ding.
Eating. I’ve been making a lot of grilled cheese, standing over the stove and watching butter melt into bread, and not burning it because I’m not also doing ten other things. I’ve been cooking food when I need it and not stockpiling meals like I’m preparing for the apocalypse.
Grieving. That is to say, I’ve been letting loose the feral knots that years of grief have wound around my heart, which is not so much an act of effort as it is one of release. It, too, requires quiet, and I have come to find, not much else.
Longing. I’ve been feeling, for lack of a better verb, the spaces in my heart that have yet to be filled, and wondering how I’m supposed to find contentment nonetheless. I’ve been asking God to define the line between content and complacent.
Resting. I am not good at this. But one thing years of a fast-paced life will beat out of you is any false enthusiasm for goals you don’t actually want to pursue. Funny how the narrow way comes into focus when the wider road loses all its luster.
Pursuing. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say I’m being pursued, by a God who brought me out into the spacious place I prayed for. Though there’s nothing yet to fill this space, well, mine is a God of contradictions, and perhaps that is the point.