Love is a burning thing
And it makes a fiery ring
—Johnny Cash, lyrics
I’ve been in a pretty brooding mood, all this year. Well, which is pretty much the last two weeks or so. Not that unusual a state of mind for me. And I thought I had something outlined, reflecting that, something that would come. But still. As the third Friday approached since my last blog post, there wasn’t a whole lot of inspiration going on inside me. Maybe I’ll just skip again, I thought, as the week arrived and passed right along.
But then I thought. Well, write a few words. You’ve always claimed to write from where you are. So write, from where you are. And here a is a compact version of what I figured to say about what all was going on inside and around me at that point along the road.
As short as the New Year has been, a few things have become very clear to me. I’m not quite sure how to approach all of it. And I’m not quite sure how to write it. So I guess I won’t, not until it all comes down around me.
This is a different year, from any other. And I’m not even exactly sure what that means. It’s just something I can feel inside me, deep down. There will be some major changes in my life. And no, I’m can’t tell you what those changes all will be, because I don’t know, myself. It’s all on the table, as far as I’m concerned, in my head. All I am or have. Yeah, I need to face and deal with some personal demons, some habits and addictions. That’s a given. But I’m talking about more than just that.
I’m talking about my life as I’ve known it, including where I live and what I do. My home. My job. There’s nothing that’s not on the line, when it comes to what changes the year may bring. Nothing. I’m not saying those changes will happen. I’m saying I’m totally open to whatever happens.
There are some hard doors ahead, to walk through. I sense that. I know it. I’ve already walked through one I never planned to see, and another hard door looms. Strangely, I’m kind of excited and eager about it all, even though I can feel the fear stirring deep inside. You don’t really plan for things like this. You just walk into them, when they come at you.
And there are relationships, too, out there, that need mending. I’m not even sure where to go with all that, what it looks like, to mend such a thing, especially where memories of deep and slicing pain remain so fresh. I mean, how do you ever talk to such a person again? It’s possible, I guess. Even probable, if you’re willing to face what was. Whatever. I figure those doors will open, too, when they’re supposed to. If they’re ever supposed to, that is. Maybe that one fearful door will be just like the ones I’m walking through right now that I never planned to walk through. You never can tell. So you just keep walking.
I guess what I’m leading up to is this. I’m not sure what things will look like, in the months ahead. And right now, I just don’t feel like writing what I think they will look like. I have no idea. You always keep walking, in life. But sometimes, you don’t just keep writing. Sometimes, you pull back, when the voice to speak is silent.
Maybe this will be the most productive year you’ll ever see, on my blog, and elsewhere. And maybe it won’t. I just don’t know, right now. Like I said, right this moment, I don’t feel like writing at all. I’m thinking some spigots are gonna open, just a little bit down the road. I don’t know that. This is a different year, when everything I am or have is on the table, to be changed or not. Everything. Maybe the changes will have to happen first, before the writing comes. I just don’t know.
I got no plans as to when I’ll post again. It might be in two weeks, or it might be in two months. I won’t force it. You can’t force real writing. I’ll speak it when it speaks itself. I can promise this, though. Sooner or later, in its own time, all of the journey will be told right here. All of it, including the moment I’m in right now. And that’s about the only promise I can make, when it comes to my writing.
And that right there was me, pretty much all brooding. Saying what was in me to say, this week. A short blog, signing off until I felt like writing again. And when you’re in a self-focused brooding state of mind like that, right about then is when something real will come and smack you up ‘side the head. And that something slipped up on me yesterday afternoon.
It was close to closing time, around four or so. An Amish contractor walked in. He had a sample piece of special order trim he wanted made. Let’s take it out to Eli, and see what he says, I told the guy. I think he can make that profile. It looks a little tight right here, but I think he can make it. We walked out. Eli greeted us. I showed him the sample of trim. Can you make this? “Yeah,” he said. “I can make that.”
We stood around and just talked for a few minutes. Eli asked the man. “Do you want to pick the trim up tomorrow, I guess?” A simple question. Normally that would of course have been the case. But not this time. The Amish contractor shook his head.
“No, not tomorrow. Monday morning,” he said. “I have a funeral tomorrow.” And he went right on and told us a little bit about it.
“It’s a young bride who just got married in November,” he said. “Last August, she came down with a real bad type of cancer. She went backward pretty fast, and she was barely strong enough to go through with the wedding. But they both wanted to do it, so they went ahead and got married anyway.”
And I could only shake my head in amazement. Wow, I said. That’s pretty brutal. There sure was nothing wrong with what they did, though, getting married when there was so little time. He looked at me and nodded. “No,” he said. “There was nothing wrong with that.”
And I couldn’t shake it, after the Amish contractor had left. Here I was, all focused on how tough life was for me right now. Focused on my own demons. Focused on my own problems. Alcohol, and how hard it is to cut back. How I’m dreading it, to quit drinking, even for a month. How wimpy is that? And I choose to get all brooding still, to invite the darkness in, off and on, about a pretend relationship that blew up in my face last year. And there are stressors in my life right now, about my job. Boo, hoo, on all of it. Cry me a river. Look, how tortured it is, my “writer’s soul.” Look, how I’m struggling along so bravely under such a heavy load.
Meanwhile, just a few miles away, across the county, there’s a young Amish husband who chose to marry his wife, even when they both knew she had only weeks of life to live. That’s brutal stuff. And it’s powerfully, powerfully beautiful, that any kind of love on this earth could be as strong as that.
And I think about it, their wedding day, back in November. Probably two months ago, or less. How her family and her community closed in around her. How they worked hard, to give her that special day she always dreamed of. And how, above all, there stood a man by her side, a man who loved her unconditionally, even as the cancer devoured all she ever was as a healthy, glowing woman. It was day of real joy, their wedding day, I think. A day of real celebration. A day of gratitude for the moment.
And I feel a little ashamed, looking at that scenario, and what could have been mine, way back in my Amish world. I couldn’t stay for a beautiful girl who actually loved me, a healthy girl, with no looming threat of death. Nah. I was too focused on what I wanted. Didn’t matter, the people I hurt, breaking away. I just wanted out. And from where I am right now, I would do it all over again, the getting out. But I sure would do some things a whole lot differently, when it comes to breaking away.
Back to today, the very day this blog was posted. A young Amish husband just buried his wife, the woman he married when he knew this day was coming, and was real close. There’s something so strong about their story, that couple. Something haunting, something real. They lived their lives for each other. And the foundation of all they were? That was a simple little thing called love.
There is no comparison between all that crap I was fretting about, and what really matters in life. Love. Just plain old simple love. Love of God. Love for all I meet, regardless of who they are or where they come from or what they did. Love is what matters, in the end.
So, yeah, I’m still thinking this will be a year of pretty substantial changes. Yeah, I can still feel it, deep down. But I’m not all tore up, like I was back there, about how tortuous it all is, about not knowing when the writing of it will come. I still don’t know. But I’m a little more relaxed about it all.
Because I reckon all those doors will open when they open. And I reckon I’ll just write it when the writing gets here.Share