When you woke this morning, did you look outside to find a sheen of ice crystals covering everything, like I did? I lay in bed, first trying unsuccessfully to retrieve the quickly fading remnants of an important dream, and then running over a mental list of things to do, so by the time I rolled out from under the covers and opened the curtains I was already feeling a little stressed. The icy frost and the absence of our car told me two things: one, that Scott had had a warm safe drive to work and two, I will have another lovely day at home to crochet and finish Christmas decorating. Shopping will have to wait.
Yesterday I crocheted a small cowl and almost an entire balaclava; that was only a few hours’ of work, so Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll easily meet my goal of finishing cowls/scarves/balaclavas for everyone on my list before Christmas. When Susan was here last week she mentioned the yarn shop in Sandy, which I’d seen the sign for but had never paid attention to because I was immersed in other non-yarn-related projects. Mom and I popped in the other day and it is a wonderful shop; I’m so excited that it’s only a wink and a skip from my house. At the time I picked up only enough yarn for one balaclava, which I finished, so I visited the shop again two days ago for more yarn–yarn yarn yarn, I’m in heaven. It’s slightly more expensive than it is at Michaels, where I would usually go, but it’s well worth it for the quality, which is superb by comparison. Jess wanted a wool balaclava to repel the rain and I found gorgeous soft wool there, many many kinds, from relatively inexpensive to lots of dollars per skein; there’s even amazingly soft sherpa wool in a variety of deep rich colors, sigh. They also hold classes so when I’m ready I may take one on knitting, to broaden my horizons. Besides all that, it’s here in town and I’d rather give my money to small local businesses than big corporations.
The busyness of the past few weeks–the bustle of holiday preparation and more social interaction than I’ve had in ages–has been really fun; I’ve enjoyed it all. But it’s also kept me skimming along the surface of my life. As long as things are going well with no glitches, the surface is a welcoming glittery place to spend my time. It feels like enough sometimes, but it’s interesting–when I’m skimming along I tend to unwittingly get caught in eddies of negative thought. Anger and sadness and fear and worry swirl around me and take swipes at my heart. Most of the time I can bat them away, but sometimes they grab hold for a few minutes (or an hour… or a day) and I listen to what they’re whispering and end up feeling, I don’t know, squidgy. Just under a pall of negativity. When I’m surface-skimming and caught in negative thought, I chase activities to take my mind off the pain– turn on the TV, fire up the computer, try to read, go shopping, whatever. But worse (for me), I begin to believe that what I see with my eyes is all there is. I lose my wonder, my sense of magic, my faith in God and the spirit realm.
I think it’s funny when people with faith in God criticize those without it, thinking it impossible for them to be genuinely happy, because it’s not true. It’s completely possible to hum along just fine without faith. I did it for several years and could easily do it again; in fact, to my surprise, it seems to be my natural inclination. Here’s the thing: if there is a loving omniscient creator God, then why in the world would we think he/she is reliant on our belief in him/her? No, if there is a God like that, then we’re in good warm hands whatever we believe, and in fact, we’re free to explore anything we like, to go on wild adventures of thought and experience, to run after the heights and depths and breadth of all that’s available, without fear of abandonment or retribution. We’re in a wholly safe place, each one of us. We can believe or not, it’s all the same. If the above is true, it all comes out in the wash.
So I have absolutely no criticism of anybody who doesn’t believe in or explore God, none at all. We each have our path and I totally understand. But I’m at a place in my life, in my own unique experience, where it’s become important again. At first I returned to faith in God in order to assuage intense emotional suffering, but now it’s because I don’t feel at home without it; without it I see myself skipping over the surface of my life, yanked around by negative emotions, vaguely unfulfilled. I can go for a long time without realizing this, especially if I don’t seek out reminders from spiritual books or meditative processes or practices. If I stayed busy I might never have to look at it, could live out the remainder of my days averting my eyes and swerving out of its way, feeling vaguely squidgy; lots of people do. I could avoid silence and space, the doors to awareness. But I suspect that the inevitability of loss, failure, rejection, sickness, hardship of any and all kinds, and finally, confrontation with death, would force the issue eventually–as it already has a few times. I’d rather become familiar with my shadows and cobwebby nooks and crannies before that stuff happens so that I’m neither tempted to close off my emotions in certain areas nor thrown completely out of my depth. If I’m drowning I want to have already memorized the location of the nearest bobbing lifebuoy and the emergency number for the Coast Guard.
That’s just me. As I said–this is my experience; I don’t know if it’s true for everyone else. It’s important you know that. I think you’re golden no matter what you believe or don’t; I’m learning to appreciate each diverse perspective that’s brought to the table, even when it veers wildly from mine. What a spicy feast! If we could all see that, we’d be able to eat together in peace. Wouldn’t that be a trip?
All right, time to get back to the tasks at hand. Breakfast first, then I’ll tackle the nativity scene and lighted garland for the living room dresser. After that, more crocheting! It’s a beautiful slickery day and I hope you’re enjoying yours, too. Love to you all. xo