Circles and Lines

The answer to the unspoken question: yes, we are still here at the dock. And yes, it was driving me crazy. I have—as I always do—finally gotten to the place where I don’t care one way or another and will be ready to go when the time is right. Until I arrive at this peaceful place of surrender, though, I tend to wallow, or, worse, drive Jay crazy asking, “When?” We are still trying to leave, but, as usual, I know very little about my own life or what is best for me, so I am trusting God’s timing, which is rarely early and never late.

It’s taken me awhile to figure out why I get so much more worked up about leaving than Jay does. It’s true that I am more excitable than he is in general, but there is something else at play here. It has to do with the contrasting patterns our lives have taken on during the last decade or so. I commented recently to Jay that his work must be very rewarding: he flies to some city far away, fixes a complicated technology problem for some big company and flies home victorious. You could say that his life follows a linear pattern. Even on the boat his projects have a beginning, middle and end. He sits down, takes the winch apart, cleans and lubricates it, and puts it back together again. Voila! Good as new!

Very seldom do I have that kind of linear project. My life’s shape (at least for the season in which I find myself) is a circle. A dizzying, whirling circle of cooking, laundry, cleaning, diapers, cooking, laundry, cleaning, diapers…throw in homeschooling and baking and you can see why I never have trouble falling asleep at night. I finish one task and go straight into another, turning around to see that the first one needs to be done again. I finish the dishes for breakfast, and it’s time to make lunch. Even the schooling, try though I might to keep it interesting, can become repetitive. One kid moves out of long division just as another moves in. The history lessons which have become our home-schooling mainstay seem to go from war to war to war—the names and dates change, but the pattern doesn’t vary much. My work is certainly rewarding and meaningful, but circular just the same.

That must be why I love jigsaw puzzles so much. In just a few hours, you can see a jumbled pile begin to take shape and within a few days, you have a beautiful picture: order out of chaos. You can then put it neatly in the box, call it finished, and go back to the cycle of daily life, refreshed. Traveling helps me break out of the circular rut, as well. Of course, my tasks stay the same no matter where we are (though making a passage does affect how I do them), but adding the exciting element of exploring, changing the scenery, and unexpected problems or wonderful surprises really throws my circle for a loop. I love every part of voyaging, from planning to passage-making, to arriving and exploring, through to the homecoming. Even when they take me geographically back to the place from which I left, journeys tend to be wonderfully linear, and sometimes I don’t mind being thrown from the carousel.