For many reasons, the past three weeks have been intense and tumultuous. I have the tendency to default to emotional reasoning, an irrational mindset that holds the belief, “If I feel it, therefore it is true.” I feel like somehow I’ve fallen overboard, and have been flailing about in difficult and strong emotions. I am not a lifeguard, but I have heard that you can’t rescue someone who is truly drowning. The drowning person, in his or her desperation, puts you at risk for drowning as well. I have just enough perspective, after exhausting myself and a dear friend, to understand that I must figure out how to calm myself down and continue to address the challenges and changes I am facing.
Thankfully, writing is a life preserving tool that is always within my grasp. And I have been scribbling and typing a lot. Unfortunately, while the last two posts that I have written for this blog have personally benefitted me, they are not appropriate for public consumption. I don’t want to drown you the reader, nor post what ends up being a well written journal entry.
I signed up for a writing class a few years ago entitled, “The Habitual Writer.” It was such a great investment of four Saturdays for me (including the takeaway of a new friendship with a fellow participant named Anita). The message of the class was in the title: make writing a habit. Don’t wait for inspiration or only write when it feels natural. Show up and practice your craft daily, whether you feel like it or not. Do it when it’s hard. Write even when you don’t think that what you are writing is “good” or you feel a little depressed.
This is also a psychological truth as well. My emotions want me to wait until I feel better or stronger to tackle a task, when the opposite is actually a wiser and more effective choice. It is in taking action that I will transform my experience.
I went to Greensboro last Saturday to meet up with my friend Dawn D and her husband Tim. What I had hoped would be a reprieve turned into an awkward and difficult afternoon, despite my friend’s efforts to support me. I was late for lunch, spun up and agitated, disorganized, defensive, disconnected, and overwhelmed. On my drive back to Charlotte, I kept seeing crepuscular rays (columns of sunlight that stream through the clouds) so I pulled over at one point to just soak in what I was seeing in the hope that it would ground me. It started to rain as I resumed driving, all the while the sun continuing to shine. When I got home, it rained again as the sun shone on, and the setting rays cast a warm, soft, orange glow on the North facing wall of my loft. I let the downpour hitting my roof soothe me as I spent the rest of the evening writing.
Ever since I was a kid, I have associated crepuscular rays with God. In my younger and more literal mind, I thought that Jesus was at the other end, hidden in the cloud, looking down at Earth from His home in heaven. Despite the changes in my spiritual beliefs, I’m still comforted by the sight of diffuse rays of sunbeams filtering through a cloud.
And the contradiction, which happened twice in one day, of it raining on me while the sun was still shining at the same time, resonated within me. All is well even though it doesn’t feel like it.
Note: I am sitting outside right now, making one final edit for this post. I kid you not, I just happened to glance up from my laptop, and there on the horizon are some faint sunbeams peeking through a patch of clouds.