Hi.

Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

Does it feel like there have been long gaps between posts around here? It feels like that to me. Feels a bit like every time I get some momentum going, someone gets injured or sick or hospitalized. That’s Rowen (who fell while balancing on our sawhorses and spent 12 hours in the ER), me (you already know about that), and Elliott (who had an asthma attack and spent the night at the Children’s hospital in Raleigh last week). All within the month of February.

But it’s March now. Yay March! I have so much optimism for 2013, and despite some evidence (see above) to the contrary, I refuse to believe that this year will be anything but GREAT. So I’m back.

Over the past 6 weeks or so, I’ve gotten really good at waiting. Well, not REALLY good, but better. Waiting to feel better. Waiting in waiting rooms. Waiting for meds to kick in, and for tests to be done. Waiting for my child to feel better. Waiting to hear good news. Always waiting to start the next chapter of wellness and productivity and getting back to ‘normal’.

I am probably the world’s most impatient person. Really. I think it’s partly the ADD, and partly just a personality thing - when I’ve made up my mind to do something, I have to start RIGHT NOW. Oh the whims of the whimsical! I love learning and experimenting and trying new things, and above all, I love starting. Hope is in the starting! The momentum, the newness, the excitement, the wind in your hair for a journey unknown but most assuredly awesome. This is going to be AWESOME!

But after the beginning comes the middle. There comes a point in every journey - class, workout, road trip, project, hike, blog post… when the excitement has worn off, and the momentum is gone, and you can’t see the beginning behind you (thereby to give up and go back), and you can’t see the end ahead, and this little creeping of despair settles in. I can’t do this. I won’t make it. I’m sick, and sore, and tired, and bored, and hopeless, and I just can’t go on.

This is the waiting. The slog. And sometimes just waiting - for the light to break, the dawn to appear, the glimmer of hope on the horizon - just waiting for the something that will bring your courage back and show you that it’s worth going on - this is the toughest part of the entire thing.

I have the last verse of Longfellow’s beautiful Psalm of Life as the lock screen on my iPad. You’ve probably seen it before. I see it multiple times a day, and it is always a reminder.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.

This verse - ah! I have heard it in my mind so many times, especially the past 6 weeks or so. Let us then, be up and doing! So inspired, and inspiring. But the very last line is a lesson so subtle it’s easy to miss unless you’re in the circumstance. Learn to labor, and to wait.

Here’s the text of the full poem - filled with lessons and inspiration for “the slog”:

        A PSALM OF LIFE

      WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN
                    SAID TO THE PSALMIST

    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
        Life is but an empty dream ! —
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
        And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest!
        And the grave is not its goal ;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
        Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
        Is our destined end or way ;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
        Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
        In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
        Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
        Let the dead Past bury its dead !
    Act,— act in the living Present !
        Heart within, and God o’erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.

 

Here’s another one from John Milton, called On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Milton certainly knew what waiting was about. By the time he wrote this poem, and his great epic poem Paradise Lost he was completely blind, and dictated the verses to his secretaries. But this faithfulness, that although without sight (“how my light is spent”), he would serve best by simply staying faithful (“bear God’s mild yoke”). And then that last line, that gorgeous last line:

They also serve who only stand and wait.

I think the fact that there isn’t more description to this waiting makes this line so relevant down through the long years (~400) since it was written. Serving isn’t always labor. Greatness isn’t always done on the run. Faithfulness isn’t always shown in flight.

And one last one from the 40th chapter of the Book of Isaiah, with a promise from God himself:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.

What better promise to someone waiting can there be than this?

If you’re waiting (like I have been) for the light to break, the sun to rise, the end to appear, there are promises given and there is hope to be had. The darkness doesn’t last forever - it can’t.

There is labor (to “post o’er land and ocean without rest”), and then there must be the hopeful waiting for the God-given energy and courage and ability to begin again.

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Digital Project Life Class + Digital Project Life Kit Giveaway