Friday, June 30, 2017

Flying Time

Funny how time flies.  They say it’s when you’re having fun and it moves faster as we age.  Does that mean we have more fun as we get older?  Or do we somehow learn to treasure each moment for the jewel that it is once we learn how quickly the sparkle fades?

I’m a writer who hasn’t written much of anything for almost a full year.  My words and my time have been wrapped up, tangled up, caught up and filled up with teaching.  A new curriculum.  A new system.  A new set of colleagues. 

And readjusting. 

In the last ten years I should have become accustomed to change as it has been the only constant.  From Milwaukee to Minneapolis to Thorp to Moscow and back to Milwaukee.  From legal secretary to teacher and back around again.  I’ve added age, pounds and a degree to my status.

In all these ten years, I never expected to live in Milwaukee again.  Yet, here I am.

I thought it would be easier because so much was familiar.  Teaching Middle School is where I have the broadest experience.  My apartment is within a few miles of where I spent the first 40 years of my life.  The church I attend is filled with acquaintances I’ve known for years.  The language is English!

And yet, so much had changed in my ten years hiatus that nothing was the same except the street signs.

On occasion, I pulled the strings of my history in an attempt to find my bass line.   It was like walking into a familiar old building whose stone steps and hard wood rails hold your imprint.  Standing outside you look at its fa├žade and you know it.  You remember when the rain changed the color from white to grey.  You see the dip of a thousand hands which have smoothed the finish on the rail.  You climb the steps, pull the heavy wooden door, peer inside the familiar, cool entry only to find someone has taken the day guard station and replaced it with an electronic check-in system.  You look to the left, but the news stand is gone.  Where is the gum?  The water?  The Grebe’s sandwiches?  Instead, there is only an empty space.

While I was away, time kept moving people and things - rearranging, renovating, reinventing the common spaces.

 Of course, I knew this would happen.  I expected it.  I tried to imagine what I might see.  I had visited Milwaukee during those years, but it’s different to live somewhere.  Visitors see only the party make-up, not the morning face. 

I didn’t expect it to take me so long to settle back in and find my way around.  I lost my voice and couldn’t make my pen work right.  It kept me from writing. I needed to find new words to say the old things. 

First, it was my work.  I expected words to fall from my heart as they always had before.  Instead, I found a new Kris sitting at an old table with nothing to say.  My heart was poured out a hundred times a week to students whose parched lives drained me.

Second, it was my place.  I struggled to find familiar spaces to get my bearings.  Instead, I tired of hearing myself say, “I remember when this was that.”  My memories had flown away in the lake breeze and no one was there to notice. 

I’m not exactly sure why God has brought me back to this place at this time, except to do this work.  I have lost two close friends suddenly this year.  Women whose lives were integral to the success of others. Women whose families have a gaping hole in their absence.  Taken without warning or planning.  Everyone was healthy and happy and good one day, and the next found a new chapter being written.

All of these experiences this year have lead me to believe I have some responsibility, some work, some thing I must do.  I feel the weight of it.  I pray I don’t disappoint God in its achievement.  I long to be home with Jesus and yet…. Some weighty chapter holds my feet to the line.

Love lavishly.  Seize the day.  Be the change you wish to see.  More than Facebook status phrases for me.  It’s my current life description as the clock ticks.  What’s yours?