Slow Time

… you are marooned on unsure ground
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

John O’Donohue

There’s a heaviness that has set in after all these days at home. A weariness that comes not from too much labor or too little sleep but from a deep tiredness that has invaded my spirit, weighed down my bones, suppressed my energy. We stand on uneven ground right now, where so much is unknown – which businesses and nonprofits will reopen, how they will reopen, what is safe, what is not, whether life will ever return to what we once called normal. Pacing ourselves is difficult when we do not know the distance we have to travel.

On the days when there are too many questions and too few answers, I feel small, invisible, unable to make a difference in the pain so many are feeling. I am stretched too thin and all used up, even as I have too much time on my hands. The piles of paper increase, the to do list grows and yet I cannot push myself back to productivity.

I have been forced to enter empty time, as poet John O’Donohue calls it. The spark has gone out, and no amount of effort or energy will rekindle it quickly. There is nothing to be done but sit with the fear, the worry, the unrest, the swirl and wait.

Shadow days are long when time lags. The way out is patience and being open to small miracles. The heat of an early morning shower. The shelf lined with miniature bottles of shampoo and conditioner, carefully carried home by Dan from his many travels, the scent of each a sweet surprise. The gentle lift from the caffeine in my first cup of coffee. The cool breeze flowing in from open windows in the early morning, cooling the house down before the afternoon heat arrives. Bright colored ink on a blank piece of paper. The feeling of the pen in my hand. Listening the unexpected rain fall and the thunder boom nearby. Watching the sun return, making the leaves glisten. End of the day walks with Buster, the streets in our neighborhood mostly deserted, the neighbors greeting other evening strollers cheerfully while staying at least six feet apart. Tasty, nourishing dinners concocted by Molly. Mostly vegan, always vegetarian. Being together, cherishing this time with just the three of us, knowing it may never come again once she launches into the world. Surrendering to these languid days instead of fighting them. Trying to be gentle with myself, knowing that my energy and drive will eventually return. Remembering that there is so much more to life than its busyness. Knowing that there is both peace and ease to be found within this slow time. Trusting that with time, my fatigue will lift, and my spirit will be restored.

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