Thursday morning, sitting in a coffee shop looking at Edinburgh Castle, watching the workaday Edinburghian make his/ her way to the kilt factory or the golf course or the haggis plant.
Let me get the date metaphor out of the way:
Edinburgh might be my favorite city so far. She reminds me of how my mom was when my dad dated her. Older single mom with three young boys. Really pretty, seen a lot in her life, but still well put together. No shame. No pretense. “love me or not . . . I’ve got things to do.” A singular beauty. Very busy but not rushed. Holding on to the past as far as it serves the present.
We’ll be here 4 days so I’m sure I will discover more.
in the meantime, the Hazen Clan is struggling a bit. All four of us are apparently carrying bags we didn’t know we left home with.
They say that under pressure, a person will frequently slide back into a less mature, or simply old style of coping. Then pressure of travel ( as Brenda puts it more succinctly: constant transitioning) has done that to all of us.
The train ride was really pleasant yesterday, but that’s because you can’t move on your own, your static in a way. There’s nothing to decide,to choose, to schedule, to discover to learn, to manage, to exchange, to wash, to buy, to connect to. You are simply being carried along.
Then getting off the train, it all hits and it takes some time to get it all sorted out again.
I will not throw my family under the bus by listing all of their less than functional ways of dealing with this. It doesn’t matter anyway. The question is, how I deal with the pressure and how I deal with my family when they are under pressure.
I give myself a C -, barely passing. I had promised Brenda that when Rick came to pick us up at our house two weeks ago, I would adopt the attitude right then and there of getting on an amusement park ride: every twist and turn would be a part of a bigger adventure, I would not let stuff get me.
I have failed at that. The reason I give myself a pass at all is that I believe I have slipped and fallen only to a point and I have self- arrested the fall before I made things worse. That’s my big victory when it comes to the relational part of this trip so far: I have not made things worse.
This is not sarcasm, defeatism, or even poorly masked shame. I’m not broken over it. I am not in free fall. I have driven in my ice axe, and I am safe. there will be no death spiral.
I would like to do more than not eff this up though, but my resources are thin. Morning Office (the main stay of my spiritual/emotional health) has been nearly impossible to do either consistently or with proper attention. Solitude of course is nearly non-existent (I mentioned anonymity working in a pinch, but it is to solitude what drinking your own pee is to hydration . . . Thanks Bear Grills) Mid Day, Evening Office, Compline or even consistent Bible reading have also fallen to the wayside for two weeks. It’s literally been years since I’ve lived like this I have to recognize that these are exceptional circumstances . . . Keep that ice axe pressed hard in.
The thought has occurred to me that we will be leaving Edinburgh in a few days and walking straight into the arms of the NC, first at St Cuthbert’s House ( a B&B run by NC Companions who have structured their lives on the daily offices and the Rule) and then on to Nether Springs itself for several days.
A very thirsty family will be arriving at those springs.