When I was a kid, I owned a journal that sat on my nightstand. A plain gray one personalized with a few tulips in grass, a rainbow across the top, the word journal written in my own floppy third grade cursive.
This may have been my only journal until adulthood because, though my heart stirred with the potential of writing, I only let the words flow from mind to page a handful of times. I’m an extrovert and a helper, so those pursuits kept me busy, but more, I did not ever fill that or any other journal’s lined pages because I knew that with so many long spaces between, I could never catch up. My allergy to not being thorough and complete chilled these writing hands.
It’s been more than a month since I’ve written here, and it feels like twelve years because I don’t know how to possibly catch you all up. And I can’t, so I won’t.
Yesterday morning, I lay down on the couch to wait for my phone’s timer to let me know the French press was ready for her plunge. I wished that these few moments could stretch to an entire day to be still and write, but it was another work outside the home sort of day for me.
So I took my minutes and placed my head on the red pillow on the couch’s left arm where I always stop in the morning to be still. The early sun shone so warm on my face and so brightly through the front window that even closing my lids did not diffuse the rays. My eyeballs felt the heat.
I opened my eyes and shielded them with my hand, and I smiled like one in the arms of her love. Dust particles kicked up by yesterday’s pre-company cleaning danced like stars, let loose like free women.
This morning as my hands move across the keys, I am smiling as beloved, I am dancing as free woman. I will not let these hands be chilled by fear or perfectionism, by believing in the lack more than the love. I will not be able to tell all the stories, but I will tell you some of them.
Over the last month, I’ve spoken and traveled and laughed with my people until I threatened a burst spleen. I’ve heard unmentionably excruciating heartbreak and seen gifts tucked away inside and others ready to soar, and I’ve sat and prayed with women while we’ve cried together.
I’ve danced ballet in Nebraska and prepared an Asian dinner with my family in a commercial kitchen in Portland and beheld a smack of cobalt jellyfish on the Oregon Coast. I’ve typed legal letters at a computer and addressed birthday envelopes in a real estate office and ridden hour upon holy hour in a minivan. I’ve waited on hold and cursed the horrible music and ridden the bus home from downtown, that unmistakable scent of urine searing deep into my nostrils and my memory.
We live so much life between the words that we’re actually able to tell about it. So there are nighttime pronouncements and new morning hope and photos of flowers in sunlight and hilarious hashtags and nodding me-toos and little hands in ours and baby birds in fallen nests and just a paragraph to represent so much that can never be fully told.
Before this day morphs into soccer games and last-minute errands and birthday parties, I needed to let you know I’ve missed you. Like empty lined pages waiting to be filled, like long-lost and found-again friends.