Monday, April 15, 2013

On Loosening Our Grip...


It’s been on my mind a lot lately, but it kind of got annoying on the way to work this morning: 

There’s no settling down, there’s only driving down state… so I drive…” ~ The Old 97’s 

There’s no settling down… 

It was already gnawing at me from the movie I sat curled up on the couch watching yesterday, Catch andRelease – all about how messy & fallible & unpredictable life & love can be, and how we pick up those pieces and keep trying. 

Life can’t be controlled… 

And, then, this gem of a reflection posted today: 

                A Moveable Feast 

I longed to know my place… 

This has been a season of being unsettled. And I have a strong wish-dream of stability that I have inflicted upon every season I have passed through. It manifests itself in my desire to control situations or, at the very least, myself. 

There is beauty in stability. It is good and nurturing and healthy. It is not, however, (nor has it ever been) my reality. And the fantasy that it will one day magically appear and nothing will ever go sideways again, keeps me from living fully and vulnerably in the daily moments and opportunities as they present themselves. 

I become Jay Gatsby, living in that always imagined yet never realistic future: 

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further...  And one fine morning - So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

So tonight I’m gathering with some folks for an informal “Beer &Brené” night. And I remind myself that people open themselves up to vulnerability, and change, and uncertainty all the time, and live to tell about it. I can look back on my life and see all the ways that interruptions & disappointments have shaped me and helped me to grow into the person I am today. I like the person I am today. So why would I shy away from taking chances? 

I’ve written a lot about anxiousness and control. And I write a lot about stability and rootedness. But I think, perhaps, I’ve created for myself an unnecessary ideal – an unconscious belief that if I can just get to season X, then all my rhythms will fall in step and nothing unexpected or jarring or stretching will ever creep in again. That’s utter bullshit. 

I love what Holly says in her poem above: “…perhaps, I should think of everywhere as the place that I might stay forever… for then there will always be a table upon which bread can be broken and new wineskins can be filled.” 

May we learn to hold loosely as we settle in to moments and seasons. May we not become like house plants that wither if their location suddenly changes. May we allow our roots to be nourished in each place we are planted so that, as we are uprooted and replanted, we continue to grow and flourish and bear fruit.

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