My little downtown is buzzing on this last hot day of autumn. The humans are everywhere: in the park, in cafes, outside the library. Full sidewalks and busy streets.
I love working downtown. I walk these streets everyday. I bring lunch back to my pretty, historic church in a paper bag, or eat outside at a little public table, alone or with friends. I can hear our bells for a full square mile: from the medical college, and the big movie theater, and the hospital, whose halls I sometimes walk to escape the elements.
Today I lingered out there. Walked longer than I meant to, stepping left or right to make space on the sidewalk for others. I listened to Josh Ritter and Jason Isbell in one ear, and the sounds of community happening in the other. Today will be the end of this late-season heat. Tomorrow will be cool. It’s easy to love something when it’s going away.
This is an Easter post. It has taken me a long time to be willing to come back to life. Being happy again meant accepting a life in which my children live in two homes. A life in which I can’t always look at (or look after) them. All that time lost. All that mothering to somehow do from afar. It has been suffocating to accept. It has been death. These words are not too strong. They barely even begin.
And the pain remains. I will carry it for all my days. But new things are arising alongside it. A new willingness to find pleasure. To revel sometimes. To live again. To leave the desert and stay out on those same city streets past midnight, seeing this town that I love from new angles and new heights. Different lights and shadows. It’s a little like waking up.
Meanwhile, Bram started kindergarten. He is struggling to make his way. Courage is so, so beautiful when you know how much work it takes. He sometimes thinks his fears define him. What he can’t see is his willingness to grapple with them. What that means. He is a thousand times braver than he knows.
And Lou started his second year of preschool. He is a fierce and intense creature. His anger comes when it will, and it is a force. His love comes spilling out too, and it is even wilder.
They are present, passionate, invested, and joyful. They are curious. They have not gotten out of this unscathed, but they are strong and well loved. Spending so much time alone with them has been a shimmering gift.
We spent the summer grieving Nemesis.
We might get kittens on Thursday.
Our home is a sanctuary. It is our little world, and it is holy.
And I am waking up. Praying a lot. Noticing.
Some days, I doubt my ability to meet someone I really want around for however long I’m blessed to be here. Year after year. For all of it. Feeling so compelled by someone that I let them into this bubble that I share with these angel-boys.
But then I remember how much the spiritual practice of marriage fed and thrilled me. What it is to surrender to the work of loving another human. Choosing that. And I also know some things about love. Like how good it is at sweeping away our resistances. And how possible it makes impossible things.
I smile now at the freedom of dating. That’s new. And some of the things I want surprise me, and that is a nice feeling too. It’s also lovely to have the space to look for those things: to privilege them. To wait and trust and be open.
Like kindness, of course. I never knew to prioritize that before. And gratitude. A foundational sense that this is all just gift.
And open-mindedness. An ability to imagine why folks think and feel as they do, however much it differs. A natural ability to hold space for that, and not judge it.
But also, and this has been a discovery: I want to be with someone who makes things. With the body or their hands. Practical things, or art, or music. Or beauty.via.movement. Someone I can watch as they do a thing that baffles and is beyond me. There are things about our physicality that are foreign to me. I am deeply drawn now to folks who understand how to put their bodies to creative use.
I also want to be with someone who keeps a regular spiritual practice. That could mean any of a thousand things, but what I need it to mean is that they understand that their spiritual health takes work. Asks something of them. I could no longer let this go.
So tomorrow will be cooler out there. Sweaters will come out again, and boots. Color will wrap itself around us: richness before the barrenness of white snow and bare branches. And I welcome it all. The quiet closeness of my home with the boys and, for the first time, the brave adventures to which I’m called when they aren’t with me.