Pull Back to Gentleness

On the dock, Horizon Perfekt, xpro Lomo 200 film

So much is swirling around over here.  My husband and I have had criss-crossing business trips all month long.  It feels like I haven't seen him since August, though it hasn't actually been quite that bad.  Then there's been poor health while I've been flying solo with my kids, first with that nasty virus and now with some serious fall allergies.  Squam was an amazing time last week, but it's not until I get home and feel like I've been hit by a truck that I realize how much that work requires of me.  And then this week I sent my littlest girl away to school, all day and every day.  Holding her this morning I could feel how much I am missing her.

It's safe to say I've logged some serious time on the couch, trying to recover and stay afloat.  Alternating between feeling ashamed for not being able just to plow through and keep doing something that looks like productivity or optimism or general mental wellness, or feeling really present to all I've done these last days and the littlest bit satisfied or even proud.  Jen is coming today, and even though I know she needs no such considerations, I nagged myself into making my bed so I wouldn't look clinically depressed.

The crazy-making part, Jen says, is the gap between what we actually do and our ability to see it and understand it.  To call it valid or hard, to acknowledge that a week laid out on the couch is an appropriate response.  To sink into the knowledge, as she told me yesterday, that if we died today it would be enough because to work in the intangible is to work in the eternal.  It is to give away something that will change someone else forever, whether our paths ever cross again or not.

And so I pull myself back to gentleness, over and over again.  To practice the soul care I've been preaching, to hold my voice and my story with cupped, careful hands.  To hang in there until my personal calvary arrives to replenish all the love that I have poured, spilled, given and gushed.  I remember the lapping of the water on the dock, the laughter that has been my fuel.  I give myself credit, in my fledgling and faltering way, for all that I have given and to give myself a chance to receive.