Sunday, October 07, 2007

Slowing down

Do you know the feeling you get when you drive fast on the highway for a long period of time and then stop and get out of the car, but you still feel like you're moving? If I remember correctly, my driver's ed teacher gave that feeling a name, "velocitized." He named it because he believed that the feeling of moving at a faster pace is what leads people to get tickets. The fast pace feels normal, so it's hard to slow down in a speed zone. There's a temptation to keep pushing on the gas pedal to get back up to the speed that feels "normal."

I feel like that after suddenly slowing down from a busy pace between work and church. I'm caught between feeling like I'm still moving at a high speed and wanting to look for things to do so I can keep moving. It's hard to focus. My thoughts are all over the place. And slowing down is making me aware of some things I've neglected because they needed quiet, alone time to give thought to them, but the temptation to rush out and find something to do so I don't have to think about them is pretty high. It isn't that they are necessarily painful and difficult to face. Honestly, they aren't. It's just hard to slow down and shift gears to focus on something that requires a slower pace.

I've been trying to focus on a post about touch and the difficulty we have in this culture with negotiating what's appropriate and what isn't, while deeply craving it from those we love. Re-reading that sentence, I'm struck by how much more powerful it would be if I went back and rewrote it in first person. When I say "we," I mean "I," but that feels pretty raw and it's hard to slow down enough to be that vulnerable right now. I suspect that's why I can't get the damn thing written.

I've also been thinking a lot about relationships and how hard they are to maintain for the long haul. It amazes me that we ever really understand each other and connect. I'm struck by how easy it is to let things get in the way, to move away from doing those things which nurture the connection with others and slip into ways of interacting that seem on the surface to provide a sense of connection, but really only mirror it in less than authentic ways. I used to think that being vulnerable with people I don't know or barely know was the hardest thing. I've decided that it's really much harder at times to be vulnerable with the people I know the best. And I've decided that it's really a matter of faith, or lack of it, actually that results in that difficulty. It doesn't require much faith to be vulnerable with someone you barely know. There isn't anything to lose. Yet, the surest way to lose those we love is to shy away from vulnerability. Oy. I marvel that we ever get this relationship stuff right.

Ah, I know this is grief talking. The pace since things with L. went south has been fast enough and we've maintained enough contact that I haven't really let myself go there. She's out of the country on vacation, and things are slow, so I can actually pay attention to it now. It's a good thing to do, but frankly, I'm ready to get the relationship thing right at some point in my lifetime.


Songbird said...

You have such a way of putting things. Vulnerability is terrifying and rewarding and maddening and necessary. Sigh.

PPB said...

I missed your voice. It's good to hear it.

Kathryn said...

I do hope that you find the space you need - and that raw wounds heal swiftly.

Katherine E. said...

You are authentic, deep, and so courageous, Linda.

I hope this coming week is full of laughter and pleasant surprises for you.

Marie said...

Good that you know it's grief. And good to have you back. I love your writing. You make me feel so human and normal. I agree, you are so authentic and I admire your courage as you write.