May 6: Pondering My Pondering

I have been spending a lot of time by myself, holed up in the cave of my little studio, working on a big project. And probably all this time alone makes my brain a little goofy. I’ve been pondering a lot of things. Things that don’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s frustrating sometimes, for me and I think many others, to be this age and feel like things still don’t make sense. There’s just that vague feeling that maybe by now I should be a little better at . . . you know . . . living life, being a human being, worrying a whole lot less about trivialities like What to Wear, for the love of God! A lot of us feel like we should have learned certain lessons. That we should know better by now. That we are doomed to repeat patterns and habits that really sometimes crush us with their predictability.

But also I think many of us sense something different. (Maybe it is the glorious springtime. Maybe the warmer weather and the sunny days pollenate happy, hopeful ideas.) We know we can change. We believe we can get better. We live in hope. We trust, love, sing, ride our bikes, forgive, dig in the dirt, make summer plans. Despite ourselves, we survive unthinkable things. We learn. We admit when we are wrong and notice the funny but wonderful ways our loved ones do the same. We begin to make peace with our own vulnerability and our own kick-ass strength.

But still, not a lot of it makes sense to me lately. So I ponder. I’ve been devoted to the practice of pondering for many years, inspired by the Bible and refined by yoga. Luke tells us that, after the tumultuous events of the Nativity, “Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart.” This line kills me. I have a sincere and lifelong fondness for the Blessed Mother, but I’ve never really related to her on a personal level. This business of pondering, for example, is the exact opposite of my personal instincts. I am more like some sensational reporter, broadcasting after any event both the details and my alarmingly inaccurate conclusions about things.

But if pondering is good enough for the Blessed Mother of our Lord and Savior, it should be good enough for me. So I try to breathe, rather than to evaluate. I try to meditate, rather than to seek answers. I move my body in ways that help my brain feel more calm and peaceful. I try to ponder, rather than to process, all that is tangled in my mind, and in our lives, and in the whole wide world.

I don’t like hanging out with more questions than answers. Patience is not my forte, but I am finding that the more patient I am with all that worries me, the more I come to peace with it. I try to breathe, release, notice, and ponder all that does not make sense.

And this odd image keeps coming to me: this giant body of water, maybe murky, filled with people swimming, treading water, back-floating. Moving together in the water. And I have the choice to stand on the banks and observe, or to jump in and thrash around with everyone else. Standing on the banks seems neater and safer and certainly less complicated, but there is something intriguing about jumping in. There is something about being in it—the murky water, the mass of humanity, the struggle—that seems important.

Like I promised, I have no answers. It’s an incomplete image. I don’t know quite what to make of it. And so I ponder.

Meanwhile, the skort project is going swimmingly.  I have hardly spent any time thinking about what to wear, because I have hardly been seen in public. But when I do venture out, like a mole blinking into the strange new daylight, I must admit I love throwing on a skort and being able to go anywhere from church to a happy hour with my girlfriends and not worry about it.


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