I'm in a real slump, people. A major, frustrating slump. I spend my scant time and energy writing pieces and stories that I come back to a few days or weeks later only to think, "WOW, this sucks!" I am struggling to write about the things I care to write about in an authentic voice. I have too many ideas, or maybe there aren't enough! Anyway, I feel the way I did when I was 11 and 12 and hit the growth spurt that gave me long legs and a 5'8" stature. I still loved going to ballet class, but I felt like I was doing it in someone else's body. I tried so hard to do things right, and I just could not do it. I didn't know how to use my new, long body. I'm not offering metaphor. I don't think this is some writer's growth spurt. I think it's just a spurt of crappy writing, and it conjures those awkward days in the studio being bad at something I loved.
Meanwhile, I went on my church's women's retreat, though for me it felt less like a retreat and more like an assertion. I will go in spite of my busy family and the fact that I can't really leave them over night. I will go and participate in all the activities because I'm feeling relatively healthy these days. I will go because there are so many people I need to know and ones I already know with whom I need to have uninterrupted conversation. It was exhausting but delightful (but REALLY exhausting). By the end I was holding back weeping, but I'm pretty sure it was just a flood of tired tears- like a toddler at the end of a fun day during which she just ate way too much cotton candy and stayed in the sun for too long (though in my case it was chilly rain and biscotti and decaf coffee). It's also hard to absorb all that spiritual content, process a year's worth of changes in heart, mind, and body in one day filled with canoeing and archery; that's bound to wring your little, tired mommy heart out a bit. I love canoeing and archery; don't get me wrong. And the retreat is actually three days and two nights; it's just my schedule that forced me to go for the one long day. Anyway, I'm so glad I went, but it made me miss my family terribly and really wore me out. POTS sucks too; it really can ruin just about anything. By the end of the night, I had to pull up a chair for the big prayer circle because I could feel my heart rate getting erratic during our singing. (EYE ROLL EMOJI!)
That canoe, though. There is really something special about getting out in the water in a boat with someone you love. I'm racking up quite a collection of memories in those canoes. I think I may need to ask for a kayak or something for Christmas. Some people find comfort in the woods or mountains, maybe others the desert or open fields. I find peace and clarity on the water. I love the beach- sandy and warm or pebbled and cold, lake or ocean. Heck, I even love our little pond down the hill that was designed to clean out the salmon-run creek on it's way down to Lake Washington. I love the sound of the water, and I think the openness helps me. From time to time I, a West Texas child inside, need more space and a bigger sky than my beautiful city and neighborhood provide.
I have laughed and cried and sighed in those canoes. I've spotted eagles, hawks, herons, crabs, salmon, seals, and anemone in those canoes. I've loved my friends and missed my kids. I have marveled at the LORD and loved him for being so kind. The sore arm is worth every minute.