(60) longing for wholeness

I think at times when I feel too much longing, I stop writing for a while.

This doesn’t make sense, really.

Maybe I’ve postponed writing because of all the time I’ve spent in front of a computer screen, typing for others, hoping to rack up enough lines to make a decent income, propping sore wrists in a supportive manner, escaping from the computer to the garden, only to come back for an episode of Friends or Battlestar Galactica.

Or maybe I just stop writing because I do that sometimes when I feel too much longing.

Life feels deep. Complex. Painful. Sweet. Textured and multidimensional. Rhythmic. Cyclical. About as difficult as a 1,000-feet-of-altitude-gain-per-mile hike. About as simple as the toothlessly charming, slightly askew, wordlessly eloquent grin of a wee baby girl.

Sometimes I feel I cannot bear another moment of this bittersweetness.

And yet the moments tumble on, one after another. So much routine, so many unanswerable questions, so much silence, so many words, such delight, such sorrow. And I am hardly keeping up, barely aware of who I might be while carried in this torrent.

And I ache with longing.

This C. S. Lewis quote resurfaced for me tonight as she and I talked about what a loss it is to only be in a single place at once. I’ve only lived a few years longer than she, but I tell her what I’ve noticed so far: With the sweet, comes the bitter. With the hello, a goodbye. With the yes, a no. To me, this rhythm has been inescapable. The foremost example right now is deeply personal: I’m given the precious gift of closeness with her, with her family, at the extraordinary cost of living far away from him, that sweet man who I love so dearly.

I realize that maybe this is a common thread through the wonderings and conversations and silence of the past days, weeks. I long for restoration in fractured relationships. I long for wholeness and freedom and space — open space even bigger than Texas — in my heart, in my mind. I long for oneness and a knitting-together of soul in marriage. I long for healing and justice and hope and laughter.

Maybe all of this simply points to another place, the place where my heart is truly at home.

I feel that one of the big questions in the show Battlestar Galactica is exploring what it means to be truly human. And maybe these longings I stumble over and by turns embrace and ignore are part of the answer to that question. Maybe to be human is to long for wholeness. Maybe my heart remembers the truth I cannot see, “that I was made for another world.”

(25) identity questions

Who am I?

Come on, really? Haven’t you been there, done that? Haven’t we been over this already? Yes, of course, many, many times. But let’s revisit it.
I spent a while at work tonight reading my new favorite blog and then following her links to other inspiring blogs, all of them written by women writing out life in these incredibly unique, full-of-life voices, many of them publishing (or having published) books…and then I arrive home with this tremendous sense of needing to write, to write about writing and write about writers, to figure out who exactly I am and why it does that matter so much anyway? And needing to ask if the little and big things I think and say and write matter and to whom they might matter (and how do you properly use whom again?) and feeling like maybe I’m just too timid to really believe that my need to write is valid and that I may actually have useful things to add to the big conversations already happening around me. Or is that really just vanity? I have this deep urge to believe in my own significance. But doesn’t that seem a bit far-fetched? And whatever might be pure and valid in all of this too easily gets tangled in my persistent comparison of others to myself and myself to others with a sharply critical commentary.

On a wholly other note, I changed my surname legally to my husband’s name within a month after our wedding. It was something we’d talked about at length and agreed on. I like this new name, it’s simple, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, all things my maiden name somehow was not. It suits me, I think. Yet, when I reel off my first, middle and last names together, I often mentally go first to my maiden name before filling in my new name. And when I talk to myself (yes, this does happen, possibly more often than it should?), I usually refer to myself with my maiden name, just by accident. I suppose this makes sense, considering I had one name for 26 years and have had the other for less than 2. But name is a piece of identity and my fumbling to claim my husband’s name psychologically, mentally, makes me wonder who I really am? Anna Shimer? Anna Armstrong? Both?

Amazingly, I took a 15+ minute break from writing this to read other blogs. And I am no where closer to answering my own questions. Maybe I will come back to this.