I don’t remember the trip home.
My first late night at the office this semester proved nearly disastrous. When my senses entered shutdown mode, I faced two choices: drive home sleepy or pass out beneath my desk.
But, in the middle of deep contemplation (i.e. the edge of hallucination), I heard an echo of laughter…and perhaps reason. It was a woman’s voice.
Immediately, I found myself overwhelmed with sadness. It was 11:45 p.m. and a lady – just outside my door – would soon retrieve my trash. What a life.
My very presence soon startled her. But, with one hand on her chest, her earnest eyes challenged my entire existence.
What are you doing here?
I have been pulled over two times in my life – both due to undeniable drowsiness. First, I didn’t pause long enough at a stop sign. Next, I made an illegal U-turn.
This time I escaped with only the conviction of a stranger.
Why do I keep doing this to myself? It’s a question that arises in my mind frequently these days. Life felt more manageable (i.e. possible) when I juggled one career and one child.
But I have dreams, and those dreams complicate my days. I’m not content to simply teach writing, and I want to share my world with two kids.
[Enter conflict, think internal]
Which brings me to my office late on a Monday night. My lips offered an apology: “I’m so sorry! I have two small kids. This is the only time I have to focus.”
In my fog, I cannot recall her words. Her non-verbal response, however, was quite simple: I feel sorry for you.
In that moment, I felt cracks for the first time beneath my hoodie.
Something has to give.
But problems aren’t easily made…or fixed. For now, the external commitments must cease. For now, I must persevere with the readiness to respond when change is within reach.
And the laughter of children – my own garden of serenity – is never too far. Sometimes I forget to look around. Sometimes I sabotage freedom out of fear.
What I know is this: Joy isn’t seeking us, and every identity we assume will come apart.
But love, if we let it, will hold us together.
One Year Ago: The Wait of 30