Last week I was able to take leave from both my jobs. With uni being done and no work at all for seven days solid, I was on the most holidayish holiday I’ve had in ages -- certainly, in 2014 so far. I was ridiculously excited by this prospect. My week was going to be awesome! Illuminating! Life-altering!
I had grand visions of doing all these amazing things: completely reorganising my walk-in closet, working out for hours every day, reading stacks of books, making art, writing stories, replying to the five hundred letters I owe people, hanging out with my little brother and being the world’s best sister, doing up a new menu plan and shopping for lots of fresh food. I was also going to be charming, snappily-dressed, witty, entertaining, and super-holy. You know, it’s never too late to try and be your best self all in one week, right?
But then… I didn’t really do much. Of anything. For starters, most of the time I felt like I was dying, which is my body’s really kind way of processing stress and anxiety. I struggle to catch the thoughts in order to stop them from taking root because my anxiety seems to bypass my conscious brain and instead just keeps my body constantly on the edge of fight-or-flight mode. So that was exhausting. I barely read a word. I did take six bags of books to the op shop, but that wasn’t so much satisfying as it was a slap in the face to my own humanness and a sudden existential tailspin into questions about mortality and the unenduring nature of pretty much everything ever. (I had visions of myself surrounded by a crumbling tower of old books, so make of that what you will). I watched a lot of German television and developed an unhealthy obsession with the all-too-cute cast, lurking their work anywhere it was to be found online. I wrote in my journal, but mostly it felt like me self-indulgently regurgitating all the messy thoughts I hadn’t had time to process towards the end of the semester. I thought too much about how to change things that can never change. I attempted to address all the questions of the universe, as well as some of the seemingly unfair issues of human existence. (Like, why do some people get to be pretty and others don’t? Why do some people get to be pretty and good at sports and musically-talented and with a winning personality? [See aforementioned German actors] How come it’s impossible to connect with certain people no matter how much time you invest in them?) The end result is that I felt just as confused after all my writing and processing as I did before it, and the whole week had this unsettled, dissatisfying hue over it.
This is the part where you should be laughing. I sure would be if it weren’t all so pathetic.
What you know -- and what I should’ve considered -- is that you can’t rewrite a life in a week. You can’t do everything you’ve put off for five years in five days. You can’t reboot just like that. I wailed at my BFF about this via text, slamming her with all my failed aspirations and intentions and confessing to her the extent of my ineffectiveness: “Why can’t I get obsessed with actual important things?” She is wise and sensible, and replied by saying, “You don’t have to turn on the Christianity when all of life is grounded in it.”
Her words -- always good -- reminded me that, when you live a life devoted to something (or Someone), there doesn’t get to be any distinction between secular and sacred. If you’re married everything you do is as a husband or wife, not just the husbandly/wifely things. You don’t turn it on or off. All things are permitted, but not all things are beneficial. It’s okay sometimes to rest, to think, to wait hopefully and expectantly for the sun to rise and burn away the last remnants of fog.
We live in a world that values achievement over just about everything else. There is no glory in quietly being. But sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do.
- Asea -- everything you said about HTTYD2: YES. A thousand times. And I'm sorry you had such a rough day the day you posted. Here's an across-the-sea hug from me.
- Jasmine Ruigrok -- David Crowder is great; you really need to give him a listen! I loved your rundown of your day. It made me miss getting to sing with my siblings.
- Joy -- feel free to email me anytime! And your blog party sounds like a lot of fun. I'm going to pop by for a visit!