I’ve been busy not going into work, painting unsatisfying paintings (whatever), vacuuming flies that keep getting into the house, listening to books on tape, staying up late reading Jane Austen (because it’s been so long!) and thinking about how in just two weeks, I get to go back to school.
I love learning. I love new beginnings. I love starting a new book. Starting a new project. Starting a new paper or story that may have no real significance to the real world but has so much of my heart and guts in it.
I love how, after learning something more of truth, this thing deep inside of me lights on fire. How my whole body feels bright and white like all that truth is now in me, awake and ready.
Yesterday I walked around campus with my mom and dad. Just me and them. My dad wanted to see campus again because he’s like me (I’m like him)–learning burns in him. We went to the library. It was empty after graduation. We sat in chairs around a table and talked about ideas–some of them proven so far, some of them just hunches. For the first time in a very long time I felt my roots strong in me again. (My parents raised me to ask questions, to care about the answers, that there is more to life than what you see.)
We went to the classroom where I will teach twenty kids not that much younger than me. It made me excited. It made me nervous. It made me feel: This is big. I can do this (even if I’m little).
Because my dad got up there and wrote his name on the board and started asking these questions that got me thinking and laughing. And then my mom got up there and told this story that got me listening so hard I didn’t laugh at myself until after I realized how absorbed I was. (She once was an actress and sometimes when she’s up in front of me, I see her on stage, in the spotlight, mesmerizing a big audience with her moving arms and hands and her dark, big eyes.)
Sometimes, after living away for so many years, after marrying someone else and having a whole new life of my own, I forget a little of who I am because I forget a little of where I came from.
When I was little I wore no shoes. I wore T-shirts because they were comfy and lipstick because it was wonderful. My mom told me I looked lovely.
I walked in the grass and the dirt and the pine needles behind the house for hours. To wander was an adventure. To find robin eggs was a gift. To fall from trees wasn’t an inability to fly, but a lack of faith. All I needed was more faith–I had learned that once from my dad.
I used to come home to my mom and she hugged me. I used to tell her everything right before bed. When I was nervous, I used to hide behind her legs and she would put her hand on my head.
I used to wait for dad to come home. I used to ask him to tell me stories and I used to listen to every word.
In the mornings, I used to sing to myself in bed. My parents listened in the other room.
There was no wishing I was this way or that way or thinking all the time about what I should have done or could have done. I was okay to be me, just me, but that me was also my mom and dad. I learned at a very young age that that was a powerful thing.
I mean, there’s something about parents, your own parents, your own blood–but not your own blood–their blood–in you. In me. There’s something about learning more about that that burns in me too. It’s that feeling of learning a little more of that grand truth.
I kept thinking yesterday, when my parents stood in front of me teaching me in my classroom, when we drove up to Salt Lake to pick up Ryan and I sat in the backseat, when we sat again at lunch and talked about God and real trials, our questions now, but always our faith, I kept thinking: they’re in me. They’re in me.
Feeling that made me feel safe again. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that, I don’t know all the reasons why. But being with them again made me feel so grateful for belonging and purpose and their power.