I have a decision to make. It’s not a big one. But it’s a choice laid out in front of me and I’m tired of these kinds of decisions. I’m just plain worn out with the contemplating and pondering and considering. The newness and the unknowns.
I don’t want to make any decisions.I want to hunker down in my comfy bedroom and just not decide anything. Take a nap. Read another book. Flip through Hulu and Netflix until I find a familiar face. More than anything I long to embrace the warm welcome of an unassuming silence that sits with me like an old, old friend.
There’s a little purple journal that already knows me and the cozy living room with a deep red couch that doesn’t judge and doesn’t question, doesn’t need explanations.
Funnily enough, it is obvious that by not making the other decision I will be making a completely different one. We don’t get a pass on life simply by being passive.
I don’t do passive well.
In the past 3 years, since leaving Bend, Oregon with all our important things tucked into suitcases, we have relocated 18 times.
Most with merely suit cases, but at least three with whole households of things. Nesting and then tearing it down to rebuild again.
In each of those new places, we have stretched out and made new friends. Purposefully we engaged and participated with determination and purpose. I made and we have served countless meals for I don’t know how many people and filled our little apartments and rented spaces with laughter, conversation, prayer, and music. Over and over and over again.
But this is different. This is a place where I’m supposed to do all that again and I’m finding, apparently, 17 was my limit for transitions where I could do all those things bravely. Because now?
Now, I crave silence.
The extroverts with whom I live have determined that me diving headlong into the place around me is critical.
“Very Important”, said the husband, as he went off to a lunch date with his new friend and I stayed home with the curtains drawn and the muffled sounds of neighbors and cars down our sleepy little street my only companions.
Very Important. To whom?
Tonight I am obligated to choose between two possible gatherings. Both are the type of thing that could draw me in and become the wonderful and beautiful that these kinds of things have been in the past or they could be horrifically cold and guarded and leave me anxiously tapping my fingers together on the sidelines waiting for the moment when I can escape. Agitated and unable to focus or participate. That has also been part of my story.
Both are places I could involve myself, engage, put on the smiling, personable Heidi persona, and easily charm my way through another round of “Who Are You And Why Should We Care?”
I’ll be honest. At the thought of that, my chest hurts, my right eye starts to twitch involuntarily, I begin to feel a lump in my throat, and none of it seems worth it. The introductory phase, being soup du jour for a moment, the high fives and “SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE” trumpeting through the halls with just enough sincerity to feel nice but, really, they already have all the people they need in their lives and I’m just another nameless face and number that makes them feel like their “vision” is succeeding.
They might be nice for a little bit, right then, taking names and numbers and promises of “We’ll be in touch”. But they don’t mean it. They already have lunch and weekender friends. Sisters and confidantes.
They don’t really want me. They don’t even know me. That takes time and no one seems to have that anymore.
Nor do they want to take the time to find if they might. Middle aged folks who have lived in the same spot for decades have their worlds neatly arranged. The dance card is full. New people are suspect. Unknowns are not welcome.
If only I could just be content to sit on the sidelines and blend with the faceless masses, spectating. Expecting nothing. Never disappointed.
But, I miss being known. Not just the abilities and talents I might bring, but the simplicity of being familiar enough that I’m not asked to be with the nursery children because you know me better than that. Where I can volunteer to teach three classes and no one bats an eye because you know I love it. I want to be part of a group where I can either stay late or leave early if I’m overwhelmed and no one thinks I’m overcompensating or angry or upset or whatever. I miss being part of a community with history and shared experiences. Even the bad ones, the hurtful, the challenging. Yes, even those.
I am at a place where it’s time to start over again. For who knows how long? Until I’m expected to do it again?
But, I don’t want to play this game again. Do the dance. My sales pitch is dry and too often repeated to carry any weight of authenticity.
Yet, even as I write this and make all these declarations I know I will do it. I will step out, I will find the people, I will open my home, make the food, play the game.
Every place is different, everyone somehow the same. It’s me that changed. There is something different about me this time, though. Are my expectations lessened? My hope diminished?
Perhaps here, in this new place, I will be the quiet one who doesn’t volunteer, who doesn’t engage. Who just watches. And waits.
I don’t know.
Perhaps, after all, that is the real decision I need to make.