Monday, February 6, 2017

It's Been a Year

Last January under the compulsion of guilt, I wrote a few posts to try and revive my desire to blog. The effort failed. I don't know if it will succeed this time, but the good news is that I actually want to write this post. Guilt is no longer the motivation.

Writing has been on hold for me. A little more than two years ago, I ended a long-standing relationship and basically everything that has happened since came in one way or another as a surprise (or shock might be more accurate - like the pulse of a defibrillator). Let me sum up:

First, I am wildly happy for a month.
Then, I briefly date another person, leaping to conclusions in my own mind far too quickly.
Lots of tears follow.
Next, I resolve to create a social life. Continuing my previously hermetic existence seems counter-productive.
So, I explore the Youth Group attached to my Church. It seems interesting; I decide tentatively to join the choir before plunging in too far.
When I confide this to Phoenix Girl, we end up making a pact to become official members of the group. May 14, 2015: we commit ourselves to a year of membership.
About this time, I develop the most enormous, unbalanced crush I've ever had on someone also in the Youth Group.
I dash off to Norway for a week, to visit the much-missed Mrs. L.
Then I return to a text message announcing (without warning) that I will be a team captain in the Youth Group.
A year of turmoil follows, in which I realize that creating a social life can be a painful exercise when one is healing from years-old wounds. In March, 2016, I have two happy weeks and wonder when the lightness will vanish and if I will ever find it again once it inevitably does.
My crush causes lots of delight, embarrassment, confusion, and provides unexpected prompts for healing and growth.
Friendships come to me like gifts.
Finally, after one last miserable day in June, 2016, I realize that something deep down and fundamental is wrong: Where is my writing? After almost three years of silence, besides the occasional poem, I must take active steps to reclaim the most important part of myself.
Suddenly, after an unexpected misfortune, I take over management of the Youth Group.
I apply to graduate school for creative writing. Waiting for an answer is an exercise in patience.
A surprising offer to become a doctoral student's research assistant comes my way. I accept the position because it makes me excited and afraid at the same time (a sure sign something will be good for me).
Today, February 6, 2017, I open one of my novels and begin to work on it again. Today, without any sense of painful obligation, I am writing a blog post for enjoyment and exercise.

So much more happened in the two years I just sketched. Thinking about the volume of activity - physical, social, mental, and emotional - is dizzying and amazing. When we are traveling through the hard times (passages I have described to friends as trudging through a swamp), it's hard to think of anything but taking the next step. Is it worth taking it? Conversely, is it worth sinking into the mire if we don't take it? Sheer, bloody-minded determination kept me going for a large part of times, and I am grateful to the combination of genetics and grace which bestowed that quality upon me.

Perhaps my interest in blogging will continue. Perhaps it will not. I'm not sure I've quite escaped from my swamp yet, but the sludge is shallower and my progress no longer in question. Hopefully another blog post will follow this one in a week or so, but the balance of work and Youth Group management and friendship and more essential writing must be kept first. I am happy to return to my balancing act, though. With any luck, joy will again inspire the walk on the tightrope, and joy is the only ingredient of an action that ensures its survival.