Quiet Anthem

Honest Faith :: Bold Vulnerability

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Joy in the Morning: I'd Rather Be Overwhelmed

This week has had me on edge, intermittently sighing or holding back tears. I'm tired. I've been getting migraines. My teaching load is dizzying. The creative commitments I made in January, when I thought my teaching load would be empty, stare down at me with deadlines that conjure up in me nothing. 

My house is cluttered. There are piles that need sorting. Clothes need washing. There's house selling and house hunting, dissertations and defenses, graduation and moving, and three cats I resent because of the fur. 

I tried to fight off another migraine by lying down on the stained, grimy carpet in my office floor this afternoon between meetings. 

When I finally got home, three hours too late, my daughters cried and cried and then cried even more over my being absent most of the weekeither at work, at writing, or at filing taxes. They cried until I held them harder. I held them until we all neared toward peace. 

As I wondered if bread and water would cut it for dinner, my neighbor Darci text messaged to invite us to their house for spaghetti. Sweet relief!

When we got home, my migraine was gone, so I sat down to write. I searched my files and found this poem, one I forgot I had written nearly ten years ago:


I muse over the extravagance of morning, the bent
living room light shimmying toward the kitchen.
Coffee in an $8 pot. Pineapple orange juice.
For some, it’s eggs, marmalade, even grits.
I am perplexed by the solitude of day.
The goings-out and comings-in: regiment,
routine, eating a banana while driving to work.
            At home, around the peninsula, the plates
wait for my reentrance at dusk, alone again, staring
at the sink, the replete dishwasher.

Awake at night, I remember breakfast. Hunger
lingers until exhausted morning draws in colorless
platters, newspaper print, and empty chairs
that, for years now, I have been waiting to fill.

spring 2003

This poem is my reminder that even if life feels too full, money seems too tight, and the future, too uncertain, I am no longer waiting to fill seats. I'm no longer waiting to fill much. 

Life, wherever it takes us, ebbs with solitude and then overflows with commitment. It brings us what we want, what we need, and what we soon realize is full of grace. 


Stephanie Scott said...

Favorite line: "And three cats I resent because of the fur."

Renee Ronika Klug said...

Be careful about the cats you get out of college. They multiply. Also, cute kittens turn into big, fat cats who stare at you from across the room as if you owe them even more. Too bad I love them unconditionally. 

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