Friday, January 8, 2010


Written two days ago.

It's 1.51 pm when our car turns into the driveway after our seaside holiday.

Somehow, the house looks shabbier than when we left. I see it half with the eyes of an owner, and half with the eyes of a stranger, as if I'm wearing 3D goggles.

The grass is shaggy and overlong. A faded brown Christmas tree lies at the foot of the driveway. I'm relieved to see that the two pot-plants near the front steps are still green and healthy. Two unopened parcels are propped next to the front door (the postman, at least, knows we've been away).

We open the door, and we're greeted by the detritus we didn't have time to tidy away before we left. The house smells comfortingly familiar, but also like it belongs to someone else. The Venus fly trap we gave our son for Christmas is holding onto life by its dry root tips.

I stand at the sink, and for a flickering moment I see a view of rolling green seaside hills through the blank tiled wall. I look out the back window, and the view of gum trees looks dry and yellow through the lingering perspective of breaking waves in a deep blue sea. I feel unbalanced, as if my feet are reaching for sand through the smooth floorboards.

The holiday recedes like a wave tugging on my legs, and the year's responsibilities threaten like dark clouds on the horizon. Three and a half more weeks' bobbing on the lazy waves of school holidays; twenty-five days (but who's counting?) until we're dragged into the rip current of term time.

The year feels frail and uncertain, as if I don't want to rest my full weight on it quite yet. Last year was hard, and I'm a little nervous about this one. I've cut down on my responsibilities to avoid last year's burnout, but I've also lost some of my confidence and enthusiasm. I'm not yet sure of the me I'm stepping into this year with.

Earlier this afternoon, on the boring road from Geelong to Melbourne, I opened The Time Traveler's Wife and read its first pages. I feel like a time traveller myself, lost between times, floating through space. I know God holds the other end of this string. I know I'm tethered. I know it, but I don't feel it, not yet.

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16
It's true even when I don't feel it.

image is from amangupta at flickr

1 comment:

Valori said...

Hey Jean! I always have to prepare for the transition between vacation and the return to real life. Nice writing -- I hope you are actually feeling God's nearness today, but if not, you are absolutely right -- it's true nonetheless!!!

We just finished Christmas break -- not like summer break, but still an adjustment to transition out of. Seems like the work just pours in sometimes, but as our house guest just reminded us the other day -- only God always gets his to do list done! (By the way, our house guest is a young man who is going to planting a Sovereign Grace church in Sydney in a few months!)

Have a wonderful remainder of your holidays!!!

Oh, and I often think I can smell the air of Hawaii and feel that call to the beach even when there is snow on the ground (like right now)!