It is a very quiet Saturday morning at my house. I am on the couch, my end of the couch, indented from the times I spend here. It is one of my favorite places to “nest.” This morning, it is me, my journal, Mary Oliver, a computer and a few other tools for reading and writing my life. It is overcast and finally looks like fall here in central Texas. They say we are due some rain and I am more than ready for it. The ground is parched and so is my soul.
One of my favorite authors is Mary Oliver whose words wet my soul and often bring tears to my eyes. I’m in love with her new book, Upstream: Selected Essays. The first sentence on the opening flap, “In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed” takes my breath away. Somedays on the cusp of turning 65 I still feel that way. Who can relate?
“I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be” she continues. And, again, I get it.
I often laugh and say I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. It’s funny but then not so much so. When we try to fit parts of ourselves into places we just do not fit in and wondering why we’re out of sorts….well, fill in the blanks. It’s cause for much grief, unhappiness, discontent, and discouragement. Yet some of that does have a good function. It helps us flesh out what is and what is not. But, being stuck in being “such a stranger to myself I hardly existed” is the other side of the coin.
So, where is the balance, the sweet spot in the tension? Where is the place where we can live in the world but not be consumed by it? The place where we know not what we want to be when we grow up but who we are! And, as an old saying goes, “where our insides match our outsides.” I’m still looking! I’ll let you know what I find.