The Insanity of Sitting by the River


There is this both/and to life. This either/or, this good/bad, truth/lie, work/rest, all at the same time. When I’m at my cabin for extended amounts of time, I become a mystery to myself. Things arise in my soul and mind that don’t have much purchase in my everyday world.  Maybe it is because I have fewer people to process things with, or I’m thrown right up against the work of parenting and wanting what I want. Maybe it’s because I have more quiet and room to recognize a few coping methods. Ways I can avoid issues when life has more distractions. Maybe it’s nature, the way the trees and mountains change the familiar skyline, my frame of reference, so nothing is as it often seems. I don’t know, maybe all of this is true. I’ve meandered into a world of both/and, of dichotomy, of honesty and hard-looking.

Some days are just full of hard, nebulous, strange, vulnerable work.

I’m not sure if this is our human construction, or if it’s a newish thing with social media. I know Facebook has jacked me up in a lot of ways, while, at the same time, being wonderful..two sides of the same coin. I enjoy the life-giving piece of connection, with old and new friends, getting glimpses of daily life. I long to learn new things, and participate in discussions with those different than I.

I don’t care for the insecurity that rises up, the judgments I’m capable of making, the inability to remember life is more than one-dimension…that people want to be known and celebrated. I want to be known and celebrated. But, typically, we don’t get the whole picture. Nor do I frequently provide the whole picture.

Facebook can make me really disappointed in myself.

Here’s a glimpse into my yesterday, made more treacherous by my involvement with social media (apparently my internal voice involves a lot of curse words):

Let’s sit by the river and read, sounds wonderful. What a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. I wish it was raining. I love the rain. What are you saying, winter will be here so soon, and you want more rain? Let’s check Facebook. How is your blog doing? Look at the stats. Oh dear, maybe I wrote a bunch of drivel. That sucks. I really need to define my audience. I really need to write for myself. Let’s check Facebook. Any likes? Any comments? Nothing? Shit. Geez. You need to get off Facebook, it rules your life. It’s such a great tool. Hide those people, no don’t, what if they inspire you. You know, I really need to get off Facebook. Let’s check Twitter. Oh dear, another black person, dead. Shit. And you’re complaining about your life in the mountains, worried that people are forgetting about you. Have some perspective. Let’s check Facebook, let’s see if there’s any likes or comments. Read, for goodness sake you just wasted 20 minutes on a worthless endeavor. Trust that if your blog is going to be read, it will be read, by the right people. Who cares if they like it or not. Read. To Kill a Mockingbird, so you can learn, edify yourself. Have I read this before? I think I only saw the movie. Gregory Peck, right? Is he still alive? Read, already. Those kids, Scout and Jem. They had it good. They knew their neighbors, spent time outside ALL summer. What are your kids doing right now? On a screen again?They are probably going to become obese at this rate. Really? Get them out the door. Make them go for a hike. Get your things together, pack a lunch, drive to Crested Butte. The flowers are supposedly magnificent. Go! Good grief. Get off your ass. Get your kids off the screens. Make them come outside. Make them play with sticks and mud in the yard. Oh wait, that means, I’ll have to help them find the sticks and the mud and I’d rather sit here and do nothing. Let them rot their brains. School comes soon enough and there won’t be time for the rest. Let’s check Facebook, check WordPress, so how the blog is doing. You know you haven’t exercised today. How is that going to feel later, when you want to eat ice cream or drink your beer? You won’t feel very good about yourself. You only have this summer once, so better get to it. 

And then the kicker: I’m sure so-and-so is out and about doing AMAZING things. Look what they posted! You really don’t understand how good you have it. Look how beautiful they are. What’s wrong with you? You need to go shopping and get some cute clothes. If he/she was here they wouldn’t be acting this way. They’d want to have an adventure. Those people know how to live, how to laugh, how to connect. You’re choosing this. So, be grateful. I am grateful. 

This is painful. This was literally my day yesterday. It ended with us all going swimming at the local Rec Center. I did manage to eek out a short workout. We laughed, I felt better. Ate donuts and ice cream for dinner, beer and salad for dessert, took the dog for a walk in the waning daylight, expressed gratitude, watched a movie.

No day is unredeemable. Each day has the both/and. Every day is a management of expectations…reminding ourselves of grace. There is no perfection. There is only learning, growing, becoming, accepting. And thanking God the day can come to an end. And waiting for tomorrow…getting through. Some days, I just ache with longing, for more, for better. These are the days to settle in, be. Something is cementing, being ingrained. Or, it’s just plain hard for whatever reason, unbeknownst to me.

My goal is to be honest, to seek to connect with others, to give myself the opportunity to live in the truth of what is.

I know the summers are short. The kids are growing up, the time is limited. The winter will come and I’ll long for quiet days, near the river, on a summer day at my cabin. There will still be mosquitos and crazy, random thoughts…but maybe, just maybe, with a little honest insight, it will be just a bit less.

3 thoughts on “The Insanity of Sitting by the River

  1. Just so you know, I am one of those silent types who always reads your blog and enjoys it and often identifies with your thoughts. ksg

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