It’s been quiet over here. I’m out of my routine.
Normally all it takes is to close my eyes, and I can feel myself drop like stone, slipping beneath surface into stillness. These past few days I’m a duck, bobbing on the surface, feet churning things up like crazy, head bobbing under for a quick sip and then popping back up to paddle, paddle, paddle.
This reminds me why I have daily practices. Not for the days when quiet wraps me up and I feel unshakeable. I practice for the days when I don’t. So when the noise and exhaustion and fear comes along, I don’t shut down.
Last Thursday was supposed to be my first day back to work, and sweet husband set the alarm for 4. I went to bed excited, ready to wake early. It would be the first morning that the Christmas decorations were down and I was able to return to my quiet place, my corner with my chair and my books and my blanket. I was so, so ready. Then I got up in the night, passed out, and woke up flat on the floor, bleeding. Instead of spending my morning in reading and reflection, I lay in a bed in the emergency room.
Yet even while I lay there, on those thin, scratchy sheets, I kept thinking, This is why I practice.
And I could feel the difference it makes, because, for once, I wasn’t planning anyone’s funeral. I wasn’t choked with panic. Even in that moment, with my daughter’s boo-bunny held up to the gash in my lip, several hours in and still not seen by the doctor, I told myself, Be here. Stay with it.
And I felt so blessed, because we were able to come to the hospital, and because I didn’t break my nose, which the doctor mentioned isn’t uncommon for the fainters, and because my sweet mentor came over at two in the morning to sleep on my couch so we could go to the hospital. I felt thankful for my husband who was doing his best to take care of me even though he was scared. I felt thankful that my job is not urgent, nor in jeopardy of being lost in my absence.
Many mornings I pop my head into my boss’ office and tell her, “Today is going to be a beautiful day.” Thursday I looked around that little curtained room, listened to the nurses joking outside the door, and wondered if I’d been saying it wrong. Maybe it’s not about having a beautiful day, but about finding beautiful moments. Maybe a whole day is just too much to ask. Because so far, the day was not turning out beautiful, but it was still early, and I had a choice.
I could choose to believe that in every day, in all things, no matter how dark and ugly, there are shards of beauty, moments to cling to, if I look for them.
This is why I wake early. This is why I practice.
I love that word, practice, because inherent, built right in, is the assumption of imperfection. It is not about striving for a goal, but about falling into acceptance of my flawed brokenness. It is just the daily doing, in spite of this. The beginning again, and again, and again, and again.
If you haven't yet, this would be a great time to read the Soul Rest retreat guide. To get it free in your inbox, just sign up for 2DayIChoose at the top of my sidebar.