October 31, 2011
What do you do when life as you know it is both unreal and too-real, at one and the same time. You wake each morning with a mile-long to-do list, running from one thing to the next, lost in the flurry of deadlines to be met and people to respond to. You crawl into bed each night exhausted, gathering up the fortitude to do it all over again the next day. You “yes,” and “sure,” and “ok” your way through the moments, till moments become hours, hours become days, and days become weeks. And here I find myself, months into this role and this place, with no clearer sense of my long-term path than when I began.
I had assumed, based on my past patterns in settling, culture-hopping, and decision-making, that by now I would have a sense of either clear belonging or, alternatively, clear not-belonging. But I do not.
I do not feel at home; but nor do I feel a pull towards any other specific place to be at home—at least not any place that resides in my current frame of experience or vision. I have longings, to be sure. They are vague ones, however: longings for some dream-like, intangible something.
I wonder, now that I think about it, if a removal out of my current “daily” would allow for some sort of clarifying process. Is the frenetic pace of each day blocking my field of vision? Not in a bad way, I don’t think; it is a good thing—a healthy thing—to have work that is engrossing in such a way that you lose yourself in the tasks and people you are faced with.
But in order to thrive in such work, there is an almost universal need, I think, for a sense of the bigger picture—an underlying awareness of your unique role in a greater, more significant need that someone, or something, in the world needs filled. Once this significance-need is met, there is a great deal of tolerance for work that includes even the most menial-feeling sorts of tasks.
And there lies the question: do I see that bigger picture? Is it the one I am in? Or is this perhaps a training ground for another bigger picture I cannot yet see? I can only trust that time will tell. That He will tell, in time.
This morning, before the madness of the day began, we had a reflective meeting. It was very brief—less than 15 minutes. But they were 15 minutes of significance. We listened to a song, while watching some images to go along with it. One image, of a solitary Baobab tree, hit some deep place of need within me. My throat tightened, my breath shortened, and then a tear rolled down my cheek. I wished for the time to “complete the thought,” in a sense, of the tears that needed to flow. There was no such time available, though: the day’s professionalism was drawing nigh. But in the darkened room, for those moments, I felt that longing and I claimed it as my own. Sometimes all you need is the longing—you needn’t fill every desire in life, or have all your needs met. But you have to feel the longings . . . in some seasons of life, it is the longings that hold the stuff of life.
I did not take any photos today. But I was reminded of one of my own Baobab photos—so that is what I post here for you now. If you have seen this photo already, you shall have to forgive me for the repetition ☺