I walk barefoot across the silken finish of our parquet floor, the re-finish we had put on a half-dozen years ago. I smile at the ‘swsh’ on my soles, then the cool of our foyer’s terrazo (marble-chips) tile. I enjoy this house so much, I think. I don’t want to change houses ever again, I think.
And my gut tightens: have I said the thing that will take this all away from me? Will God now challenge me through my home?
What is the deep human quality that does that? That stills our words when we want to sing out all the treasures that make up our children, lest the Evil Eye—or the trolls or dark fairies—curse our darlings? That warns us not to hope too much, not to rejoice too loudly, not to love too profoundly… else God will mark us an idolator and teach us a lesson?
That tells us, when the stream of our life is sun-splashed and placid, that storms must certainly be on the horizon?
I don’t have an answer. I can see how tightly woven it is in our humanness, because of how many disparate cultures carry practices for handling it. But I have yet to read a book or article that explains the thing.
The closest explanation I’ve encountered lies in the research around our experiences of fear. How we remember the dark and difficult more than the happy, so our sense of the world is perennially weighted toward “bad.” But fear isn’t, I think, the heart of whatever-this-is—fear is the emotion on the side that’s pulled into its slipstream. Which means it’s a big slipstream.
Jen Louden delivered an interesting, overstuffed webinar on ‘getting scary s*t done‘ that gave me a shoulder-nudge into untangling the where and why and what of That Thing Kimbol’s Working On Next. (Did you think seminary was That Thing? Oh, no. I can tell you it’s a needed piece of equipment, but it’s not That Thing.) See, there’s an upcoming co-working opportunity for tackling the “scary s*t”…but since I don’t have any s*t in play that I’m avoiding, I’ve nothing to co-work on. Frankly, this lack has seemed suspicious to me for a while.
Also suspicious: the boredom I fell into last year. That took me forever to figure out was boredom, because evidently pocket-computers have altered my relationship to my own boredom-feelings.
The frustration I realized I was feeling because I lack milestones? That turned out to be straightforward—once I realized that’s what the crawly feeling in my shoulders was.
At least I have a solid Next Thing foundation: I send out poems; I blog six days a week. I learned during That Contract how little I will negotiate those things. Barring a challenge to my family’s sustenance, my months of days require an hour or so each day to support my poem/blogging life. Checking in with God and My Sweetie takes less daily time, believe it or not!
So what is That Next Thing? I’m going to take more seminary classes, but what balance of my time is appropriate for them? I feel drawn toward the two month co-working option, but is that merely because it’s delectably new? Or is Jen’s seminar indeed the frame where I’ll focus and sketch That Thing?
What is the difference between drifting and being open to discernment?
And what do I do with the email that just landed in my inbox: “Kimbol, I need some help—call me so I can tell you about this freelance gig?”
I still wince from my last big leap.
God, did I hear you clearly last time? How will I know now?
And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore [the king] said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
—1 Kings 22:34, King James version