Friday, January 15, 2016

The Dead of Winter

It's finally winter here in western New York.  The snow has finally blanketed the ground and put the earth to sleep.  The air is chill, and the cold winds howl through the skeletal trees.  Nothing but a pine branch stirs in the grey outside world.

I always look forward to winter, because I think finally I'll have some time to work on my creative endeavors.  I don't have a garden to care for or any other outside activities to do really.  When it's 12 degrees outside with whipping wind, it's not that fun to go play in the snow.  But the truth is, once the stillness of winter sets in, it seems like a stillness settles over my heart as well.  Nothing seems to stir my interests.

Certainly, I have plenty of things I can do.  I have the line drawing for my next painting all finished and ready to start painting, I have several quilts and quilting projects I'd like to work on, and plenty of other crafts and household projects that would be nice if they were done.  None of those things really call to me, though.  It's almost as if I just want to curl up on the couch for the rest of winter.

Maybe it's the weather.  A dull grey day isn't exactly cheerful or inspiring, and the cold makes me want to never step foot out of my bed again.  I do tend to get this way every year, and I don't have much luck just shaking it off.

When I'm not keeping myself busy with my creative projects, I have time to contemplate my life.  Lately, I've been wondering if I've been wasting my talents.  I enjoy staying home, but sometimes I feel so useless and unseen by the world.  I don't want to be rich and famous or anything, but it would be nice if I could make some kind of impact.

At the same time, I'm afraid to seriously pursue any of my passions because I'm such a flake.  The only serious commitments I've been able to make in my life are A) to my husband and B) to my garden.  And it's only worked out with my garden because I get a six month hiatus every year.  Imagine telling your boss that you're pretty sick of your job, and you'd like to take a few months off so you can go do something else for a while.  Life just doesn't work around my personality.

I've had a job before, and I showed up on time for that and was an excellent worker.  That's not really what I'm afraid of.  What I'm afraid of is that I'll set down a career path, and a year later decide that it's not for me.

At least as a housewife, I have the option to pursue whatever creative endeavor my heart desires, even if I only get to share it with my family.  I dunno.  It's depressing sounding when I put it like that.  It's not that I'm unhappy at home; on the contrary, I enjoy the freedom it offers me.  I just wish I had a real focus or goal.

I don't know where I read it, but I remember someone calling this feeling something along the lines of the holy restlessness.  Or the sacred boredom.  It's when there's a deep longing in your heart for something more; an empty space in your soul that's just waiting for God to fill it.  And I really do feel like that's what's happening to me.  As tough as it is for me to feel bored and restless and uninterested in everything, it's creating space for something new and wonderful to come into my life.  Maybe it's best that I don't just jump into anything right now.  I want to leave the space open for a little while and see what happens.

Maybe I'll take a bath and read a book. 

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