In college I took a course on creative poetry writing. Not the most practical choice, but I thought it would be fun. Even more importantly, by adding three extra hours to my class schedule, I felt justified in quitting my job at the off-campus bookstore.
In this class we played a lot with poetic forms, and for some reason, just the other day, I had lines stuck in my head from the little tongue-in-cheek sonnet I wrote about sonnets. No, I’m not going to put my college poetry on here…I want you guys to come back and keep reading. Even as I wrote it, I knew that the poem was kind of cheesy and indulgent, but it did contain some heartfelt sentiment, which is why the poem came back to my mind recently.
Basically I speculated about what it would be like to live in a sonnet, which is one of the most orderly and predictable poetic structures that exists. The rhymes follow a neat pattern, the meter is rhythmic and regular, and the lines are limited and structured, down to the fact that the “turn” always and only comes in line 9.
I remember the somewhat wistful feeling I had as I wrote six years ago, and I felt the same wistful feeling that day…feeling like life would be so much easier if it was predictable and neat. Unexpected, out-of-the-blue curve balls occasionally bring joyful surprises, but usually they just stress me out.
I couldn’t have predicted how long it would take for us to complete this last move–six months later, all of my boxes are still not unpacked! The last two times we moved, I took great pride in having everything in place, including wall art, in three days. This time…we moved in August, it is now February, and I still have stuff in my in-laws’ garage. Don’t get me wrong– the wait has been worth it! Our house is great…and very soon, it will be unpacked and settled. But the process has been a stretch for me.
I could not have predicted that it would be hard to move back to my home town. Although I still know lots of people around town and at church, it’s not really like having friends. It just means that people remember me from when I was little, or that they know my parents and have heard stories about me. But it’s not the same as having people that I can call up for coffee at the last minute. It’s hard to keep close to my friends from Waco, and it’s slow going with new friends in Temple. But I’m persisting.
I could not have predicted how traumatic even an exciting and voluntary life change could be. I’m making my plans for next year, and even as I look forward to some of the transitions that will be taking place, I’m grieving over the things I am leaving behind. Even good changes involve goodbyes, and those are never easy for me. (Yes, I’m being vague. Bear with me.)
I could not have predicted that I would enjoy reading Zora Neale Hurston, that I would hang out so much with my parents and sister, that I would ever listen to NPR, that I would ask for cooking DVDs for Christmas, that I would love my pets, that I would be a pastor’s wife, that I would love working, that I would be the bill-payer, that I would not be a homebody, that I would be hooked on TV dramas, that I would be a coffee drinker, that I, with my long-hair fascination, would marry a man who was bald.
Like I said, some unexpected surprises turn out to be all right after all. Many are better than the predictable option. As for the challenges…well, I’m still learning how to deal with all of that. If you’ve got it figured out, feel free to leave a comment.