Here we are again. I'm not doing much going lately, mostly staying. Which is strange for me. That said, I have been thinking about a lot, in my staying. This is the gift and curse of the stay.
It feels as though I've been on a steep learning curve. The universe keeps hurling things my way, and I barely have time to process a question before another is crashing into me. Little bits of the world have been whirling around and, as usual, are far more connected than we could have imagined.
Lately, this is what keeps me up at night:
1. Did you ever consider how if you live alone, you can go an entire day (a week, even) without touching another human being? It's been awfully quiet around here. I've been living alone for the past couple weeks, and while I am a noted fan of silence and solitude, it can make you incredibly hungry for human interaction. This got me thinking about the value of human touch. We can ache for it with such longing that, whether good or bad, we cannot help but crash into one another. In Brasil, we greeted each other with a kiss - not one, but two, on either cheek. Friends and strangers alike. Which meant, no matter the day, you were known by someone. I miss the richness of that culture, of being "known" so unconditionally.
2. When you are alone, a mouse can keep you company. Even if he is unwelcome. This is a fact.
3. Remember the story of Lazarus? The sick guy who died and then Jesus brought him back to life. I've always thought it was strange how the Gospel of John says, "When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was." Why would Jesus, knowing his friend was sick and dying, stay two more days? Maybe it was because Jesus didn't want to just heal him, he wanted to resurrect him. I wonder what Lazarus thought of his silence.
I guess the silence is actually the answer. The Master of the Universe entrusts us with His silence. "When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible - with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation."*
4. This popped up on my daily TED Big Questions: Why don't you stop thinking and simply enjoy it?
5. A few weeks ago my sister passed along this great article in National Geographic that I keep coming back to. It is on death and travel, respectively. In it, the author speaks of how in the face of certain death, travel kept him alive - how he learned to open his eyes to the world, wide with wonder. To say yes, even to the bad stuff.
"Isn't it wonderful to know, beyond any doubt and with infinite, unearned grace, that the world holds so much, that what we take most for granted in our lives - even the very shape of the land beneath us or the sky above - can change according to how we're willing to see it, to greet it?"
And this, from poet Rainer Maria Rilke, "Ah the ball that we dared, that we hurled into infinite space, doesn't it fill our hands differently with it's return: heavier by the weight of where it has been."**
6. It's the small things. And sometimes it takes a while.
I stopped by the Donut Vault on my way to the Art Institute today and had the most amazing pumpkin donut and coffee. This place has forever changed how I feel about donuts. Like mice, donuts can also keep you company. At the Art Institute, I stood before Monet's Haystacks and realized something: it took Claude Monet twenty-five paintings of haystacks to understand the light.
*Thanks to Oswald Chambers for these insights, from My Utmost for His Highest.
**Read Edward Readicker-Henderson's complete essay in National Geographic here.