“Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad.”
– Colonel Brandon to Elinor (Emma Thompson) in Sense and Sensibility.
At a recent job interview the CFO asked me why I was interested in leaving academia for this particular position in a development office. On the inside I was saying, “Well, to be frank, I’m not sure I do. I’d rather stay home with my children and read books and write novels and cook things. But I’m here because I’m going to have bills to pay. I need a job!”
I managed something more like this out loud, “Well, I guess I don’t mind specifically what I do as long as I feel like it is something important.” Something worthy of my attention and effort even if I am doing because I need to pay for the Internet connection in our new rental.
As we enter the countdown of two weeks before our move, we’re beginning to feel some of the tension that comes with being placeless. The place we are going is not yet ours and the place we are leaving is slowly being dismantled of its familiarity. We’re looking for work to occupy us there and yet still finishing up work that must be completed here.
A favorite preacher of mine used to describe it as the way water must feel as it’s being poured from one vessel into the next. A little too loose and free for my comfort for sure. And there’s really not much to do about it. It just is.
So we look for occupations to fill our restlessness. Order new checks with a new address (Ours says “Z Street” – the last available spot in our new hometown?). Sort through the front closet. Force too many Barbies into pink plastic storage containers.
I remember this feeling in the weeks before a new baby would be born into our home. Usually around 3 a.m. something would wake me and then I would be ruined for sleep. The questions would come rushing into my consciousness. Not big, eternal questions like how we would raise this new soul to love the God we know, but small unexpected questions like what color crib sheets I should buy or how many pockets the diaper bag simply had to possess.
This week, for me, it’s been the windows. I’ve heard of people cleaning their windows and I know mine are dirty. What should I do? Open them all up and just start sloshing soapy water? But those rose bushes out front completely block the girls’ windows! How will I get to those?
Questions about whether or not I have enough packing boxes? No. Questions about whether or not the change of address forms have been filled out correctly? No. Nothing that practical. I’ve been obsessing about those windows.
It’s the in between place. The free fall before the secure landing. The waiting room. The transition.
So, any advice for those windows?