i'm not always so good with pep talks.

The significant, life-forming times are the dull, in-between times. -- Jan Karon

Sometimes I get homesick for the way things used to be. For faces that are more home than any house is. For patterns and moments already past.

For the feel of a certain kind of night (the velvet fog, the street light tenting down, that one path, the paper coffee cup, remember?). For the smell of a particular day.

And sometimes I get homesick for things that haven't happened at all.

Do you ever get this way? It's the beginning of a storm, the start of a trip, or maybe the first crazy itch an insect feels, before it wriggles right out of its skin.

I'm gearing up for something, something big. Many somethings. Not all with names and faces, and certainly not all have endings in sight.

In fact, there are no guessable endings at all.

I find myself saying the same things over and over in conversations. Do you get this way too? I hear my own voice echoing around my ears later: We'll see, I keep saying. We'll see, we'll see, we'll see.

Just to switch things up, I also say: I'm learning a lot!

It's in a perky voice, too, and I wonder who I'm trying to convince: my listeners, or my own stubbornly scared self.

Maybe I say, I'm learning a lot, to drown out the little whine that begs, but could I please just learn one thing at a time?

Do we need seventeen lessons all thrumming along at once? Because I'm feeling just the littlest bit sore and tired.

I don't like that whining voice.

Because of course, I am learning. Each day has more in it than I can hold, and I spill over, all the time. All this thinking, pages and pages of writing, all the reading I'm doing, the wondering, going in circles that are sometimes familiar and sometimes not.

The air is extra-charged, and any moment the spark will come, will set everything off. Maybe burn off all this mist, and then I can see clearly. (We'll see.)

I usually don't mind learning. But sometimes, I don't want to we'll see, I want to know. To have learned.

To get out of the car at the end of the road, stretch my legs, get the crick out of my back, and smile and smile.

Poor cowardly heart. Poor cranky brain. 

Sometimes I don't want to grow anymore. I just want to settle. ... It's one more reason to love (already-written, already-published) books. When the suspense is too much, you can skip ahead, can't you? Skim a bit, get the feel of things, and head for the finish line?

But I know I'd regret it, I'd hate it, if I turned around now.

What happens to the bugs that decide to stay in their old skin, all zipped up and buttoned down tight? Do their little insect brains blow up?

Sounds like a nastier fate than being tired.

Besides. I can just go make more tea, right? Right.

And then keep going, somehow, somewhere. We'll just have to see, right? We'll just have to see.

(Because I think, eventually, eventually, and by the grace of God, the view will be well worth it.)

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