The Need to Look In
After the adrenaline rush of all the trips and then the hospital, I crashed, and it happened with a house full of guests. Actually my guests were not really guests. My parents, sister, and nephews drove up from Alabama, and they’re the kind who will load your dishwasher and fix doorknobs while simultaneously giving you a virus. Everything in my brain had been all kapow and boom, but then the steam just ran out. This is what happens, I suppose.
When we’re tired, we’re more prone to argument and tears. Where I’m from, we call it being touchous. High five and double fist pump to anyone out there who’s heard the word “touchous.”
I’m so touchous that yesterday I took the day off and went online shopping. I got rid of my clothes when we moved here, so call me Alice and send me down the bunny hole. It’s boot season, and the schedule up ahead says WORK: visit doctors, figure out how to make Titus grow, and write a book. Also suddenly I’m the age that self-care can mean the difference between having glowing skin and growing a man hair next to the sun-spot in the shape of Texas on my cheek. There’s nothing like navel gazing to highlight insecurities.
If looking in starts to make you woozy, take a deep breath and look out. Find some ground. Stay home from the after-school activities, and prop the feet. Put Neil Young back on the record player. The 8 year old impresses himself with multiplication tables. Listen to the 2 year old jabber. He jumps off a chair and knees you in the gut. Breathe. Thank God that no one has broken a neck yet. Ask the others to pick up legos. Between commands, ease in. Remember through the walk you took with your sister and daddy. In the woods, you forgot how old you were. The air gushing out of caves is always the same. You felt alive. It was a cool day, and the sunshine beamed warm like pride on daughters. Those gigantic trees hang on the side of the mountain with their short roots. Ancient things can feel like miracles. The little boys with you learned to follow or fall. We never stop learning.
Quiet moments to prop the feet are to break from the panic and to ward off fear, not to stare into my own iris, fall into the black hole. Rest and internal examination doesn’t have to mean navel-gazing or pondering how to put together a better life, but it’s so easy for me to land me inside myself in such a way that seems like long, dark puzzled hallways – a million doors and carnival mirrors down. Sometimes I want out and don’t know how.
When we feel the need for internal examination, to look in, the gaze requires a mingling with the Spirit, but this is where the Holiness of God is knee-bending and overwhelming. We are designed to know Him that way, a holy fire that overwhelms yet doesn’t burn us. This is necessary fear.
I don’t know how to make Titus grow. I don’t know how to be less consumed with making our lives and my mind better – unless the fire is licking me from the inside. Either way, I’m consumed. Only one way gives a light down the hall, an unshakable kingdom. I am afraid. If the wild is in my eye and I act like a woman in from the desert, have grace. Bless me. Pray I lay down in the cool air next to the mouth of caves. There is a way to rest in the cleft of the rock. There is a way to see glory.