“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
This morning I woke early, the sky still firmly held in the grips of heavy darkness. Though it was warm inside my house, I knew it was bitterly cold outside. It has been for days; it will be for several days to come. Under the soft light from the streetlamp, I caught a glimpse of the ragged snow banks, browning at the edges like an apple left out on the counter too long. Over the past few weeks, the harsh winds have blown a million tiny holes into what were once stately mountains of snow. Now they look angry and weary and hard, beaten down with a thick crust of ice on top. Even the snow seems ready to be done with winter, ready to move on.
It is in these dark, cold mornings in the dredges of winter when I find myself asking, Will it ever end? Will there ever be brighter, warmer days?
It seems impossible some mornings, especially when I look at the abysmal forecast. But, of course, I know that winter will end. I know that, eventually, there will be brighter and warmer days. I know this. I trust this.
My mood has matched the weather lately. There has been a lingering confusion, with more questions than answers. Like a sponge, I’ve soaked in the darkness and the cold around me. So many people I love – my dearest of dear ones – are wading through the muck right now and I don’t know how to help them. Book sales are plummeting and don’t know how to revive them. Parenting conundrums arise on a daily basis. I feel scared and uncertain when I write, cautiously pushing the “publish” button every time and unclear about my place in this big, wide literary world. I have felt untethered and unbalanced. There has been an Unsettling.
I could navel-gaze about all of the likely causes for this Unsettling – lack of confidence, overwhelming obligations, conflicting emotions, unhealthy and constant comparisons, rampant impatience – but these things are nothing new. I have written about my struggles with perfectionism, comparison, doubt, and overwhelm before, and while I have lofty goals and healthy aspirations, I’m a work-in-progress and a slow learner. Meaningful change does not come naturally or easily to me, but rather, in a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of way, all wobbly and unbalanced.
And yet, despite the wobbling, I trust that I will regain my footing, that I will find balance, that the Unsettling with settle. I trust that there is truth in the questions even if I don’t ever know the answers, that the only way through the muck is to keep moving, keep trying, keep writing. I trust that my dearest of dear ones will be okay, that they are stronger than they believe, that they are wiser than they think. And I must trust that I am as well.
I have faith that, despite the cold and dark nights, dawn will break and spring will come, that there will be brighter and warmer days. I have faith in doing the next good thing. I have faith in the power of radical kindness, raw vulnerability, and unforeseen courage. I have faith that people are inherently good, despite any evidence to the contrary.
While I wrote this afternoon, it started to snow for a while. Nothing dramatic or noticeable, just some light snowflakes floating and twirling on the wind.
Kind of like handfuls of pixie dust sprinkling down onto an unsettled world.
This post was inspired by my participation in the UU Lenten Photo Practice, with today’s word of TRUST. I don’t observe Lent in the traditional sense, but I appreciate the sense of reflection and contemplation that this time of year provides and I welcome the opportunity for an intentional and daily spiritual practice focused on “paying attention” that this provides. If you’re interested in learning more about the UU Lenten Photo Practice, click here. Or you can follow along with me here.