Monday, June 16, 2008

Nine O'Clock Sky and Running on Empty

It has been a beautiful, peaceful evening. This is what the sky over my house looked like at nine o'clock:

I have no idea why it was so bright--evening had arrived, the moon was out, and yet there was this bright flash of blue. Gave me something to think know, how the heavens and earth collide somewhere between day and night, where magic and reality meet in a moment of breathless anticipation. It's my favorite time of day.

Sitting on my front porch, breathing in the cool night air, looking at the world bathed in pale, ethereal blue moonlight, the words of a Jackson Browne song started running through my head and I realize that it's exactly how I've been feeling (pause the music down in the right column if you want to listen)...

Running on empty. That's me these days. I believe in working hard, but I've honestly pushed myself past my maximum and I'm falling apart on the inside. I had a moment earlier today, sitting at my desk, when I was completely alone with hum of a thousand thoughts, staring at the work piled in front of me and I heard myself ask out loud, "Is this all there is?" I experienced a feeling that was blessedly brief, but painfully intense. It took me a while to recognize it, because it's not familiar to me.

I had a brief moment of complete and utter despair.

It's not that I don't value the work I do. I know I'm serving a greater good by working in human services, but the despair came on the tail of a different thought that I hurriedly squelched, shoving into the recesses of my poor, overworked brain. That thought is, "I really don't want to do this anymore." I've spent a decade of my life working in mental health, but as the years tick by, I'm seeing more and more that my passion really lies in a realm of creativity--writing, baking, music, poetry, dancing, photography--things that represent expression of self.

If I'm going to be honest with myself--and let's face it, if I'm not going to be honest with myself, I can't really expect anyone else to--I have to admit that I've been neglectful of my internal compass. All my life, as far back as I can remember, I felt a pull in a direction that was different from where I was making myself head. I decided not to be a cardiac surgeon and go into psychology and counseling instead. But even during my pre-med days and all the classes (and graduate classes) in counseling, I was just longing for something more. That's not to say I wasn't interested and curious and fascinated by all that I was learning. I certainly was. It's just that there was something lacking. It was lacking passion.

Now that I've actually admitted that out loud, I realize I need to do something with it. I have no idea what yet, but I'm sure it'll come to me. All I know is that I can't keep running on empty--giving and giving until I'm exhausted and being unable to see a way out. The line of the song that sticks with me the most alludes to not knowing when this road became the road I'm on.

Now don't get me wrong--this road has included so many blessings, I can't even count them. I've got my family, my husband, my sweet little girl, a stable job, a nice home, a reliable vehicle, people who love and support me. Each one is a blessing. But there's a part of me that still feels lost, like I'm looking for something that's just up ahead and around the corner. First I worried that it was pure selfishness--I mean, I have so much in my life, why would I want anything else? But it's not just about desire. It's not just about passion, either. For me, it's about meaning. The work I do is meaningful for so many people and I know it, but I feel like the meaning for me is lacking.

I realize I'm rambling now, which is probably a sign that I need to go to sleep. Ah sleep. What is that elusive five-letter word I speak of? The sleep I've been getting lately is broken and short, not at all restorative. Tonight, I think I'll try to "Let go and let God". I'm off to dreamland, everyone. Maybe I'll find the answers to my questions in that hazy spot being asleep and being awake, where angels sing and fairies dance, where my soul is cradled in weightless least until the alarm sends out its shrill cry that it's time for me to get up and start another day.


Jim Latchford said...

Thank you for a truly insight look into your soul ...and mine. This life is not suppose to be an endless rehearsal. But if that is true, then when does the main play begin and where do we enter the stage to be the persons we long to be? The clock is ticking and it gets louder as we grow older. We either ignor the time that is too quickly passing or we pass the time resetting the clock to mark the time we have left to be fulfilled. Here's hoping that the time we each have left if more filled with the things that define our passions.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Ok, I know that when you are in the midst of this yuck, it is no fun.

But can I give you the view from the person looking in the window?

I am going, "Wow, God is obviously pulling her into something new and different and exciting. I wonder what it is? It's gonna be cool to find out where she's headed."

Unsolicited advice alert:

Pray for God to show you real, real bluntly what he wants you to do. I call these the 2x4 prayers, and it goes something like this: "God, I am too tired and dumb for subtlety right now. I really need you to whack me over the head with this like a 2x4. Please make it so mindnumbingly obvious what you want me to do that I totally can't miss it."

And then just wait, trust, obey....and watch the movie unfold.

Praying for you.


Martha said...

Missy, that is a fantastic prayer. I don't believe in being too formal when I pray--no point in being too wordy when the Big Guy already knows what's in my heart. I'm going to be offering some 2x4 prayers of my own today!

Charlene said...

I love Jackson brown...that was one of my favorites in the 70's...that sure ages me hua...

Charlene said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deirdre said...

that' 2x4 pray....I call it a "clue by four"