Thursday, October 13, 2005

Oh No, She's Right.

In reading Heather Lende's book, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, I came across something Annie Dillard said in her book, The Writing Life :

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing."

This is striking to me; the simple, straight-forward, clean logic of it. Why is an apparently self-evident truth so difficult to grasp? How can I repeatedly convince myself that the whole of my life will be greater than the sum of its parts?

I keep doing the same things and expecting different results. I choose the same sops and diversions every day, and every evening I swear I'll make tomorrow different.

I've lived long enough to know that change doesn't often descend like a blinding light on the road to Damascus. Most of us have to get there by the sweat of our brows.

I'm restless lately, scared. All the plans I had at ten or twelve or sixteen, lay fallen by the wayside, left to wither in the hot sun or snatched up in the beaks of parabolic birds.

I don't know when I became so weak.

I found a box of letters in the garage yesterday; all the letters I wrote my husband before we were married and were living several hundred miles and two states apart. I wouldn't know that girl if I met her and I'm sure I wouldn't like her. I browsed through the letters, read a few, reluctantly. The only more embarrasing experience I can remember is watching my wedding video.

I was barely nineteen when we married and between the ages of sixteen and eighteen when I wrote those letters, so I should be fair and give youthful naivete its due allowance.

The thing that wont leave me alone though, like a rug I can't shake out, is how happy she was, how self-possessed, how sure. And kind. Granted, she hadn't seen the world yet and knew as much about that life as a baby in utero knows about life outside the womb. But I give her a full ten points for sincerity.

I can't imagine anything less like me, now.

About eight years ago two things happened pretty much simultaneously. I stopped trusting God and I found out abruptly that I couldn't trust myself. That's when everything started to slip. It was the first time I ever yelled at a child. And he was mine.

It's hard to appreciate how far little steps can take us off the path. But I have to believe little steps can bring me back, too.

I'm going to pull out my compass now and head back. I don't know where I came from, so I can't retrace my steps. But when I am very still, I think I can feel my heart leaning True North.


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laura said...

"I keep doing the same things and expecting different results." That's what the program refers to as insanity, no offense. lol!

I swear girl, you are way too hard on yourself. You describe yourself like you are some sort of monster! You aren't a monster. You're just messed up, like the rest of us.

Someone told me that "We are all messed up. The beauty of it is is that we are messed up at different times."

I really don't want you to think you are alone. I know I can't make you change your mind, so all I'll say is, girl, I'm here for you, no matter how far the distance.

Michael Ciani said...

Finally, a new post! You know that I check this 4-5 times a week just waiting for the next glimpse of the sister I know and love.
I think we have an opposite view of the teens we once were. You sound somewhat wistful for that gone girl, whereas I couldn't be happier that the boy that was is long gone. He is definitely not welcome back!
Anywho, keep heading north.
Love as always,

Rachael said...

Laura: Thanks.

Michael: You missed hearing me say to Scott, after reading some of those letters, " It was all worth it-everything I've had to go through- just so that I am not that person anymore."
I don't want to be that again, but a little of the contentedness and goodness would be nice.