For the past month, I’ve watched countless walkers, bikers, and runners stream by my gate in my new neighborhood, but haven’t had time to join them. This week, I needed to check on the hours of a business up the street. I also felt a little stir crazy from being sick and needed to move around. So I decided to stroll there and back. At a slow pace, with no music to distract me, I soaked in the details of all the beautiful old houses along the way. I exchanged smiles with the many other pedestrians I passed. I stopped to listen to a singing mockingbird. At some point on the return trip, I felt a sense of stillness and space – a few moments’ break from being cluttered up to my mental rafters. It was a relief to know I can still experience that. It had been a while.
The Year of Enough has been declaring itself loudly in this move. I dropped almost everything when my old house went under contract, repeating the excuse that I needed to get through the move and then I’d get right back on track. But after a month of residence in my new place, I’m still taking life one day at a time. There are still packed boxes in every room, and almost nothing on the walls. Between settling in to a different type of space, and my workload hitting its most demanding level in thirteen years, I just can’t chase hard after anything else. I’m not even ready to think about going back to community band, especially during our busiest time of year. I’ve barely even picked up a book. My commitment to church activities and community isn’t living up to my original intentions. I want to spend intentional time with friends old and new but fail to initiate plans. I’ve become That Person who RSVPs the day before. Worst of all, I haven’t been writing – here or anywhere. In that area especially, I feel like I’m in a rushing river, clinging to a rapid, and with every week that passes, I fall off and drift further down the river, increasing the distance I’ll never be able to make up toward personal goals and being a “successful,” productive person. For the sake of my health, I choose not to hustle. Then I go out with friends, and enjoy the city I love, and sit on my balcony for a while, and the little voice inside says, See, you DO have time to hustle, and no one respects you anymore, because you’ve stopped taking life seriously.
When you boil it all down, my main reason for moving to Midtown was to be happy and free. What a selfish, scandalous thing for a Christian to admit. But God encouraged me in it at every point in the process. It’s already one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I am confident He endorses it. So, after everything I went through to get here, why am I in such a hurry to weigh myself down again, especially with some things I’m not even sure make me happy anymore? My basic needs are covered. I work hard. I’m still trying to love and help people well in a day-by-day way. And when I’m not listening to that little voice, I have peace like a river in my soul, and I’m very happy. Maybe it’s okay to let that be enough, at least for a while. Maybe it’s okay to look at the path right in front of me and do what comes naturally instead of trying to force it. Maybe I’m still somehow useful as I am right now, still going somewhere despite my current lack of drive and focus. And maybe people will still like and care about me even if I’m a little messy and not making it a priority to do everything right.
I loathe the term “season.” It’s become smarmy Christianese to me, because it’s often both invalidating and falsely hopeful. But sometimes it delivers much-needed perspective. A season of lowering the pressure and enjoying life doesn’t mean I’m wasting my life. I also shouldn’t feel guilt or shame because my life is, on the surface, fun and easy right now. To the wives, moms, and caretakers, maybe it looks like I’ve moved into a nonstop party. But I’m not going to ruin my suddenly light heart and light feet by apologizing for them. We are all laboring under our own burdens, mine happen to be less obvious, and I will no longer deny myself things purely to look holier or more responsible.
I went through a similar “season” the summer after my ex-husband left. I had a strong impression that I should relax, not worry about long-term plans, and enjoy whatever happiness God brought my way – anything that helped me feel good about life. I had worked hard for a very long time, and it was time for a “vacation.” I took it, and no one died. Well, it’s been five years, I’ve been through another (more mysterious) dark time of the soul, and I’ve had another fairly significant life change. Maybe I’m due. May it be enough.
About Brenda W.Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
Posted in changes, faith, one word: enough, rest