I finished the book yesterday, the one given to me by a friend, the one she didn’t want to give me, but God kept at her until she reluctantly, fearfully obeyed. I understand why her reluctancy, since someone dies before the end.
This was also the day, only an hour or so before, when another friend gave me a book, one on grief that she felt God nudged her to give. Her obedience was without tension, or hesitation.
I’ve all but completed a few pages of the first one. But the second, A Walk on the Beach, by Joan Anderson, is what I want to document, possibly reread because there are too many morsels for me to feed on. I am not sure the exact reason He wanted me to read this, but this month-long sabbatical from all food sensitivities has also turned into another month of being still until an adventure (I hope) begins.
Reflections in no particular order:
Identity Crisis – That is exactly what the author is having, as she, a 51 year old empty-nester, decides to go and live by the water for a year, leaving her former life, to discover herself.
The fact I’m also embarking on my 51st year has me stirred up. And, I know I am an author, but the struggle to figure out my positioning in this realm is out of my reach somehow.
Rearranging – The lady she encounters is chalk-full of wisdom on living the most out of life, living all the way to her end, at like 94 years old. She says at one point on the past, and moving forward, “It is always important to look out, not back. I’ve left lots of luggage on shore hoping I’ll find some new things out there.”
I am reminded of a dream I had, carrying a backpack I obviously need to set down because of its weight. This is what looking back does, has you accumulating weight on the back that is never meant to be carried long term. In doing so, the body tries to compensate by slouching forward–a natural position for those in a slump.
Likely I’ve been in my head too much, hanging out with former memories, with hopes they’ll allow me to hang out again. But they are only mirages of the journey–gone by the time I arrive.
On Life – The elderly lady from the book says, “I’ve never been able to substitute words for experience–you just have to get out there and embrace things.”
I remember when I read Stephen King’s memoir on writing. At the time I was confused on where to place my desk in my office. When I encounter the answer on the page that answers my dilemma, as if he were writing solely for me.
He says he used to have his desk in the center of the room, but trades it for one half the size, which sits in the corner of his office. His reasoning is simple, yet profound, “Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”
Pursuit – The elderly lady instructs the younger before she sets out on a trip to hike the Inca Trail. Her words are taken to heart in the midst of her journey, “When Joan (elderly woman) urged me to walk the Inca Trail, she insisted that by having a sense of potential, daring to pursue something, I eventually would win and feel empowered.”
What am I pursuing?
Could the pursuit be this vocation?
Okay, traveling somewhere else for a moment, thinking of Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail, and how she says early on how she always likes to start her notes to him (Tom Hanks) as if they are already in the middle of a conversation…
I’m thinking of this, regarding my writing, so much I want to share that is entirely trivial, yet relevant. and don’t know where to begin. So I leave all to the journal page as thoughts of my own, and not for another.
Like this one right now of how my coffee cup now has a lid.
I do this to keep from seeing the appearance slightly off from its original hue of caramel–the perfect color attained after providing the proper amount of half and half. Since the switch to oat milk for a month, I realize how much all our senses contribute to our experiences.
I alter this with a lid to allow me to sip the shiny, four shades darker substance, without seeing its ugliness, so the gag reflex doesn’t take over.
All this to say:
Change requires adjustment.
It doesn’t necessarily taste right at first, but over time, I will adjust if I allow myself to.