I’m in my bedroom, locked away in my weekly retreat.
Each weekend, I seize some hours of my own. Escape to solitude while my kids and husband play Minecraft together.
Go build your animal-riddled contraptions, I encourage.
Mama needs herself.
I could outline all the educational benefits of Minecraft: how incredible it is for STEM and design and collaboration and coding.
But the main benefit is this:
Mama needs herself. She needs her solitude with herself to be okay with the world.
I lay in bed. I read books. I do e-courses. I art journal. I do whatever the fuck I want, without being needed.
My own sweet company is my greatest healer, the conduit to the divine.
My husband just gently knocked on the door.
I’m ordering some things on Amazon, he tells me. I noticed you’ve got things in the cart already. Did you want me to order them for you now?
Yes, thank you my love. Thank you for thinking of me.
Then I close my door and lock it again.
This morning, in our tiny library that really should be a bedroom but we couldn’t bear to be without great piles of books.
He looks at me and says:
What are you most afraid of?
The emptiness, I say.
Empty boxes? Empty holes in the ground?
For a man with a phobia of hole-riddled objects, his mind jumps to the physical.
No. No. The emptiness… in me.
I find it hard to answer him. The feeling comes up, and my throat swells, and tears spill hot.
You know. If I stop doing everything, and just… sit. Then I might see there’s nothing in me. I’m terrified of the emptiness in me.
Oh, that emptiness, he says. We all have that.
Really? I thought it was just me.
No honey. It’s all of us. It’s called being human.
While we are here, I might as well go all in.
I feel like I’m getting more human as the years progress.
How do you mean?
I feel like I used to be close to the divine when I was younger. I could hear the wisdom clearer. I could remember why I am here. I feel like I’m losing it as I age. Like a spiritual glaucoma.
He looks at me, blue eyes bright.
Me too. I thought it was just me. I used to feel so intuitive, and it’s not as loud anymore.
And amongst the clammer of our children wrestling on the floor between us, we look into each other’s eyes, truly look, in the way we can forget to. The past and the future flash together into the here.
Looking into his eyes for the first time, the shock of recognition, two magnets turning toward each other.
Looking into his eyes as we wed, that translucent day when nothing else mattered but he and me and our tiny daughter.
And the moments that I didn’t see, or have yet to come.
Looking into his eyes as we age, grey and softly timbered.
Seeing his eyes when he was a teenager, bright and alive with knowing.
Love spreads across the timelines in all directions.
When I look truly, I see what I’ve always known:
That we see ourselves in each other. That our base core, we are the same. And that we adore each other, intensely.
I love him when I see him.
And here’s the thing: sometimes I don’t see him. I often don’t see him. Even when he is sitting right in front of me, I am looking inside only my own head. This being that I have loved throughout time is the same one I am regularly pissed off with. Who I misunderstand, and give the finger to behind his back.
That’s the thing: 17 years of love and life. Of children wrestling on the floor between us. Of endless discussions about what we need to do, what groceries we need next, what we will do with ageing parents, the pets and the mortgage and the cars that need servicing. The endless and of life, keeping us from the long looks and the simmering love.
I don’t know why I so easily forget: how much we adore each other. How everything is right here. But I do.
I am human. As is he.
Stumbling our way back to each other just as we stumble toward the divine.
I don’t know what to do with the ever growing space between me and the divine, us and the divine.
Life got intensely hectic lately, with homeschooling and moving and all the rest.
I wonder if the connection will ever come back.
Does it need quiet and solitude? Creativity and music?
I’m not one for sex, drugs and rock’n’roll as a combo, but I could do sex and folk music. Would that work?
Or is it a timing thing? Caught in the grasp of hands-on parenting, will it return with spaciousness as they get older?
It’s the age old quest.
The lost human, looking for God.
It’s the chant I sang so many years ago.
The truth of the matter is: I have no fucking clue.
But I don’t think I’ll stop looking in the dark all the same.
I’ll let you know what I find.