When I was seven or so, we worked with number lines in school, and I remember loving the fluidity of those lines rising above the order and rigidity of the numbers and tick marks at the bottom. I wouldn’t have used those words then, of course. At the time, I would have just said those bouncy lines were pretty. Skipping over numbers while we counted and landing where we needed to be held a kind of simple beauty for me even then.
Number lines still hold a place in my mind today. If my life is a line, and who knows where it will end, I find myself wanting to soar above certain chunks and just land where I need to be. This seems selfish, because I have a really good life which is easy by most standards, but I sometimes find it really hard to live even my easy life.
I would like to soar above the bit where my children leave. I would be perfectly fine to skip the parts where I question and worry and feel alone. I would love to jump over the times when I’m misunderstood or friends fall away. Sometimes I wouldn’t mind taking a jump backwards or even a detour. I don’t want my line to be too long.
That I have no wish to be old is a topic of some dark humor in my house and among my friends. I have said I’d like to do whatever work God has for me, see my children and grandchildren settled, and then go Home, and that idea is sometimes met with horror or confusion, but I guess it’s a hard thing to explain. I really do look forward to Heaven, a time and place in which there’s no suffering or worry or fear. I want to leave here having lived the best life I can, and sometimes I feel that the longer it is, the more likely I’ll screw it up.
One of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Doyle Melton, lives an overly sensitive life like mine and she calls it living brutifully. Life is brutal and beautiful at the same time, and when we experience such clarity and richness in our positive moments, we are bound to be exhausted and depleted by the difficult ones. It’s a lens we can’t remove, and maybe we wouldn’t even if we could. I feel like my sensitivity and overthinking leads to a natural empathy for others that is a big part of who I am called to be, and so it’s just part of what I carry, it’s how I see and act and move.
God only knows how long my life will be, but as I live it day by day, I find myself looking up more. I don’t want to wish time away, but I do sometimes need to be lifted up and over.