I'm in Portland, Maine. Last time I was here during one of thoae crazy summers where I packed, unpacked, did laundry, and repacked my bags seemingly more than I actually spent time doing anything else. I had felt like it was a crazy pull on my time and energy. But once I got here, well, let's just say it was a bright, sunny July. The weather was perfectly cooperative. I spent hours just walking through the old port, taking photos, eating amazingly fresh things (handmade crepes, anyone?), and feeling really, really relaxed. (Those of you who know me realize how monumental a statement that is.) And if you wonder what I was thinking then, feel free to see my comment on the city's art.
Two nights ago we got in after a grueling two and a half extra hours on our drive, because the folks on the NY highways decided to slow it down. (No, we couldn't figure out any other reason.) Yesterday dh spent the day at the local office, and I spent the day in cold, gray, wet misty rain. Urgh. Shopping outdoors is No Fun in that kind of weather. The docks, and most of the port side streets, smelled of fish - and absolutely not in any way that could be considered "good". I ate a sad little lunch all alone in a dreary cafe that probably is usually more cheery. A cruise ship had meandered into port, so the streets were filled with drenched Southerners, and there must have been a seniors bus as well, because getting in and out of shops meant patiently waiting for blue haired folks to decide to (finally) step out of the doorways.
I told dh that This was why I will Never move to Portland, and why, in many countries, the suicide rate is high.
What a difference a day makes. Today is sunny and there isn't a cloud to be seen. The bay is beautiful and sparkly. I got up early and went to my favorite coffee shop, Morning in Paris. A huge steaming cup of tea and an almond croissant go a long way. Shopping was lovely. And now I am looking forward to the hubby getting off from work so we can sample multiple flavors of popcorn, buy some local mead, spend time together before he leaves to camp with a friend, and I come back to a comfy hotel to read (for fun!).
These couple of days reflect the recent months of my life. God is calling, truly callng me to something different. I believe it is the pursuit of more education, so I can have the tools to communicate what has been stirring in my heart for several years. But until I actually am offered one of the four fellowships, I can't be certain that will be the path. Some days I am completely at ease with this. I know God provides. And I know I am being called. No question.
But other days, while I still believe these things, my heart trembles. My mind takes over. I hear all the other voices: you're too old for change, this is financially risky, the family will grow up and not remember you, what if your husband can't be supportive, what will you do with no friends close by, why can't you just be content?
Some of those days my voice answers: I just want to give up.
These are the misty rainy days, when the doubt soaks slowly through your jeans leaving you damp and miserable. These are the days when you can't really remember the last time you felt warm and cozy and safe. These are the days when it is so tempting to ask: are there people out there who are just content to have a roof and family and a job and faith... and why can't I be like that? But I'm not. It's an awesome thing to be that way - but it just isn't who I was created to be. I have a teacher's heart and an artist's temperament. I am moody and creative and intelligent and I. Crave. More.
I think often on Augustine: "our hearts are restless until they rest in You, O Lord." And he usually helps me realize I am not alone. And then the sun peeks out.
And so I offer this little post to anyone who ever feels like I do. You may not have towering illnesses or doom over your head - or again, you may. But you may just have restless days, and rainy days, and days where you just feel like throwing in the towel. When you have one of those days - remember we are not yet at rest. There is still land to be journeyed. But at the end... well... isn't that goal indescribable?
I found this sweet video clip on Katie's blog, which may just give you a smile for the day... and may just help each of us know a child's trust that the sun will come out. Don't Stop. Don't give up.