Tossed Salads

It’s evening.  The clock is ticking.  The curtain hangs crooked on the window in front of me.  My glass of milk is empty.  My toes are kinda cold.

There’s something I’ve been avoiding lately.  Avoiding like the plague, you might say.  Avoiding to the point that I’ve almost become afraid of it.

What’s the it, you ask?   You ask, I answer.  It is A Pen.

The thought of picking it up and putting it in my hand and purposefully making connection with the page and letting the things hidden in my heart travel to my head and follow my arm down to the pen. This thought scares me.

These days, I only seem comfortable writing about clocks and curtains and milk and toes.  Not about things tucked away deep within.

Here I am, standing at the cusp of some intense change.  My heart is full.  Full and running-over kind of full.

But words evade me.

I’m changing zip codes soon.  Changing country-codes, actually.  I’m walking into a place where I’ve had a dream-tucked-away-about for a decade plus.  I’m leaving a life-work that has basically defined me, a work I love and thought I’d keep at for a long, long time.  I’m moving far from family. I’m returning to a land that claimed a part of me years back.  I’m bidding farewell to a life I’ve loved.

This should combine to be enough to fill journals with ferocious emotional strokes of the pencil.  Isn’t this where good art is born?  In the unknown, in the brazen excitement of new frontiers, in the depth of sadness of letting go?  Shouldn’t this angst be birthing something good from my pen?

If so, why is the thought of picking up a simple vessel of ink capable of freezing me with fear?

Perhaps it has something to do with how deeply the pen pries back the layers within me.  It pulls back the flesh, the cover, and divides what’s really inside.

Maybe I don’t want to see what’s all inside because it’s so confusing.  How can one person simultaneously be feeling elation and dread?  Fear and faith?  Hope and anxiety?  Doubt and surety?  And not only feeling those things simultaneously, but feeling each of them about the same thing?

Maybe I don’t pick up the pen because that just doesn’t make sense.

Like a tossed salad with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes mixed right up beside rancid goat cheese crumbles which are tight up beside grade-A bacon bits which brush up beside rotten broccoli.  How can so much goodness and so much grime end up all in one spot?  How?

Is this what Life Abundant looks like sometimes?  Is it?  Is this where the good, the bad, and the ugly, all wrap up in a package called Living-Among-Brokenness?  Is this where the redeemed heart comes full face-to-face with the depraved world?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but my pen makes me asks them.  When I face my fear and lean into this plethora of emotions, I am a bit blown away with what’s all there.  But underneath all of them lies an unquestionable bedrock, an anchor I need so much these days.  Undermining it all is a sweet, real, true, known peace.

Cling to the peace, MariaHold fast.

This one thing I know with surety: The Prince of Peace has not left me alone.  He has led me here.   He is sure and certain in my instability.  He is in the middle of this mixture of wild excitement and quiet grief.

So if this muddle leaves me ever more grateful for this never-giving-up presence, then I shouldn’t have to be afraid of my pen.  I shouldn’t have to make it all make sense.  I can embrace this tossed salad of feelings knowing this comes with the territory of change.

And maybe I should go fix the curtain and pour me some more milk now, too.


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