Boredom’s Eulogy

I’m pretty well sure that boredom is the devil’s work. Spinning out from a semi-productive day and when you sit down to relax, it raises its ugly head. Not enough, it whispers. Nobody to talk to. Nowhere to go. Empty, empty life. 

I’ve wallowed this winter, I think, and let boredom get the upper hand. So these days, when I rise to shake it off I feel my knees shake. They’re out of practice.

Time for a walk. Podcasts, music, I don’t care, just take those steps and feel the miracle that is strong, sure legs.

Maybe to clean an old drawer or closet. Stacking and sorting and throwing out a grocery bag full of years old geography quizzes.

Time for music, the best kind – I’ll be bossy and say it – the Classical kind. Just sit for a minute and let yourself slow, slow down and be happy for where you are.

Sit and read. Of the very book you like best, and don’t try too hard to impress anyone else.

Do something that is a little bit scary-new, like visiting an art museum by yourself. Talk to a stranger there. Don’t run away.

Buy fruit or vegetables from little old men under umbrellas, by the road, on the back of a truck. They surely will be grumpy but…that’s the point.

Or pray. Without ceasing. About the craziest things that lurk in your mind. About your health, sins and the vaguest of fears for the future; and your husband and that person you don’t know very well but can’t get out of your head.

The world is too big and God is too good, to be bored.

I’ve been told it’s a bad word.

As they say here, “Can I get an amen?”

 

 

From the Shelf: Psalm 84

                                                   this morning, a verse for immigration frustrations                                                                 to redefine home                                                                                                                                     and wait on the Lord                                                              

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

in whose heart are the highways to Zion….

For a day in your courts is better

than a thousand elsewhere…

(and) no good thing does he withhold

from those who walk uprightly..:”

 

 

Like Him

Our parents let us play in the woods, made us eat our vegetables and took us to bed and breakfasts on vacation.

One of these places was nestled in a New York state village, few minutes from where Almanzo Wilder grew up. We picked apples from his orchard and the next morning woke up to breakfast in a white kitchen.

The B & B owner was chatty and despite her intentions to leave us be, she ended up sitting at the table with us. She was unaccountably enthralled with our life, where we lived and where we were going.

She told Millie and I that we were such strong and healthy looking girls, which I didn’t think was complimentary then, but now I know better.

And near the end of our meal she leaned forward and said, “Girls. Make sure you find a man who treats you like your dad.”

We felt embarrassed and squirmed at the urgency in her voice. She didn’t say it because it was a nice thing to say. She said it out of fear and experience, knowing that kindness is special.

Years later, when my sister’s co-workers were amazed by a man that would wait and listen, I thought about the B&B lady’s words.

And when Dad put my hand in another man’s open palm, I thought about it again. How one had taught me to inform an opinion, and the other loved to hear them.

How Dad modeled analysis over drama. Forgiveness over gossip. Reading a book over seeking greener grass. How to enjoy Jim Croce, hugs and coffee ice cream and how to suck it up and do your taxes.

And how the man I married cherishes who I am and when I figure stuff out by myself and how excited I get about making things from scratch.

Shoes are always too big to fill and some are meant to stay on a person’s feet forever. But my dad’s worn out dress shoes made a straight path that showed me how a man is meant to love.

So to that lady somewhere in New York, I didn’t marry the same man as my father, but I married one who lives like Him, the one Father. And that, it turns out, is kind of the same thing

Thank you, Dad.

 

Word Pictures

Sometimes there are moments so insignificant and wonderful that I take a picture.

Hoping to catch that feeling of bathwater running late in the evening and the smell of lavender and no lights on but here.

That Sunday afternoon lethargy with his head on my lap, ear buds in, reading while it rains outside and washes the failures of another week.

The time I wanted ice cream and he was hungry for Mexican food, but he pulled into exactly the right store and got me a waffle cone.

Trying to explain what ‘dabbing‘ is and why he should never do it in public and please stop dancing around like that because I can’t stop laughing.

So instead, the pictures are in my head. Blurry and ridiculous and they’re getting fuzzier all the time. But I won’t stop trying to pause and appreciate the moment for just exactly how precious it is.

 

A Guide to Good Adventures

Today marks six months since Wesley and I promised to have and to hold until we kicked the bucket. I thought to mark the occasion I would offer my list of ten helpful survival tips for road trips, errands, or pretty much anytime we get in the car on a weekend.

  1. Make sure your phone is charged. One car charger is all very well, but if you set off somewhere on foot, you’ll want healthy battery life in case of posting on Instagram emergency.
  2. In a similar vein, take the camera. That way you can fight over who gets to take the pictures and get video footage of anything that moves.
  3. Follow the GPS. Even if it appears to be taking you the wrong way, it actually knows what it is talking about 99.99% of the time. Wagnon Mountain Rd. might sound innocent enough, but after dark?  (Click to 6:02)
  4. Bring a book. Always, always, always. In fact, I often bring two. A book and a blanket can make the car a private little library retreat when you’re waiting in the Auto-zone parking lot.
  5. Nothing will make everyone crankier than being hungry. Correction. Nothing will make me crankier than being hungry. For everyone’s safety, bring snacks. (So many snacks.)
  6. And for the husband, bring an entire thermos or two of water. This is not a joke. It will all get gulped down and eliminates the small bottles kicking around underfoot.
  7. Since this is Alabama, I’ve also learned to bring an extra coat, sweater, shorts, hat, rubber boots and honestly, a bathing suit would also be wise. You may never know what will become weather appropriate before the day is done.
  8.  Add two extra hours onto the GPS estimated time of arrival. This machine generated guess does not include stopping at friend’s houses to look at lawn machinery, long conversations with various old men, or retracing your steps to take a picture.
  9. Pandora. Playlists are life when you’re stuck in the car. This also provides an appropriate context in which to disagree on the musical tastes of your spouse. Fight fair though and take turns in choosing the artist.
  10. Buckle up and be prepared to commentate on anything, everyone and everywhere you pass, explore, walk under, or listen to. Sharing new things is one of the sweetest perks of marrying your friend. In these first months together we’ve started our own repertoire of family stories and as the future unrolls we already find ourselves saying, do you remember when?

It’s been a wild ride so far, Wesley. Here’s to 6 months times 120 more!

 

Speechless

I’ve had a whole lot of nothing floating around in my head these days.

Or at least, there are things…but they won’t hold together into a whole blog post.

It’s been a jumble of pool floating, book quotes, eating more lettuce, watching Marvel movies and not judging someone with a selfie stick.

Sometimes change is a jump in the deep end, and sometimes you just look at yourself clubbing a cockroach or cooking squirrel and think – who am I?

I promise I’ll get back to writing more, friends. Until then, I’ll be over here with my head in the freezer eating watermelon.

xo

Where Did You Come From?

When I miss you most, I’m driving down a strange split road, where people drive 65 mph and stop at lights on a dime.

I miss you when I’m paralyzed with indecision about whether this store, an unfamiliar sign and front, will have what I actually want.

When I get in the car and just circle aimlessly, wishing I knew where to find the green space that I’m craving.

Where to find the friendliest librarians, the freshest produce, the cheapest thrift items.

All the things I took for granted when I knew every route like the back of my hand, when I could expect the rhythm of every restaurant and hiking trail.

I miss strangers knowing exactly who my parents are and the trust that extends from familiar face to familiar face.

A warm sweetness of blossom and asphalt hang around my door now, interrupting the crisp apple of a memory. Fresh bread greets my mind when I walk through the doors of my hometown and I’m hungry for it.

Hungry for the comfort of knowing and being known. Wherever we are, this is the human search in our food, our hobbies, the places we go. Doesn’t a baby know exactly where it belongs because that is where it finds comfort?

You can love something new, while still missing the old and that is my constant balancing act, my privilege, challenge and bitter sweet joy in this season.

And I have to ask. What do you miss the most about where you came from?