Writing is my work, my pastime, my job. With writing, all the rest falls into place. Lately, though, finding words to describe what I feel remains elusive.
The sameness of the days, the twisted chaos on the news, the lack of face-to-face encounters, the virtual workshops and events planned well into the year make me feel something is amiss. I can’t figure out what comes next.
Maybe I’ll get new flooring. I have this old tile kitchen floor and wall-to-wall carpets that could use an upgrade. There’s a sale on at this place a few exits up the turnpike. It’s like every other place right now ... should I risk it? I read about the new COVID-19 variants, the South African and Brazilian variants, perhaps more deadly and immune to the vaccine. And then there is the UK variant, more contagious.
Last week I dined on mushroom stuffed ravioli and asparagus tips. The restaurant bar area resembled a ghost town out of "Twilight Zone", although my sons and I struck up a lively conversation with our waiter who said he pondered retirement. From the window next to our table, I looked out on the gray day … folks huddled in winter coats next to heat lamps. What planet had we landed on?
We have a vaccine and people are dying by the thousands daily. I’m on a waiting list. Who knows when or where I get my vaccine? A while ago, my friend said there should be a lottery. How do you prioritize one life over another, he asked?
Yesterday, my church held a Zoom coffee hour fellowship. The conversation turned to how faith sustains us. When did we first believe, the pastor asked? I don’t remember the exact moment, I say. I just know that it all came together sometime in my forties, although that's not to say I don't have moments of doubt. I've written a chapter in my new book about spirituality. The protagonist, Ava, says of her journey:
On Sundays I attend the 19th century Episcopal church, once a way station on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The little white church looks out on a highway where cattle drivers drove their herds to the marketplaces in Lancaster County and beyond when the land was no more than farms and open fields.
It was several years after Jay died before I again started attending church. Early one Sunday before a 10 a.m. service, I walked into a church up the road from my house. I don’t know why, but I do remember a gold crucifix on the altar glowing in sunlight streaming through a stained-glass window depicting Jesus as a shepherd, holding a lamb. A coming home, a sense of peace in the embrace of my Christian faith enveloped me.
Despite the weariness, writing this gives me a spurt of glad energy. As Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way:
As gray, as controlled, as dreamless as we may strive to be, the fire of our dreams will not stay buried. The embers are always there, stirring in our frozen souls like winter leaves.Maybe it’s not so important to worry about what comes next. Instead, a writer waits, knowing and believing she will find the words in time.