Currently in my fridge I have three quarters of a family sized lasagna, half a crock pot full of southwest chicken soup, and a tupperware of penne alfredo that I cooked up from a freezer bag. I don’t know what to do with it all. It seemed smart at the time to save it for some lazy weekend, but day after day it sits there, a chilly afterthought.
Here I sit, chilly and full of afterthoughts.
It’s January, which means Christmas is behind us and it’s a long time till any of us are warm again. Time to hunker down. We’re thinking about how we could be better with our money. Whether we should start a workout regiment. Which bad habit we want to finally put effort into kicking. What relationships we want to rebuild. I’m up here in my third floor treehouse apartment, stocking my pantry until every cupboard and fridge shelf finally bursts. Stocking my life with lists: To Dos. Groceries. Just In Case. Movies to Watch. People to Have Coffee With. Books to Read.
I’m hunkering down for a long, long winter.
This morning I journaled something along the lines of, it’s easy to believe in God’s plans, but it’s tougher to wait for them. I have a deep sense that this year is going to be a lot of waiting for me. In one sense, that’s exciting and fulfilling, because I know beyond certainty that the things I am waiting for are good, good things. Waiting and preparing bears fruit. The better I get at making good grocery lists, the better I eat. The more friends I remember to get coffee with, the richer my conversations become.
But in another, very real sense, waiting is one of the hardest things in the world for me, and today everything around me feels very still. Maybe it’s the snow. Something about that white blanket covering the roof outside my kitchen window quieted me all afternoon. The first true snowfall gives the world a nice reset button. As my dear friend would say, ‘exhilarating, yet familiar.’ New, yet old.
Stocking up is only helpful if you use the things you’ve stored. You can buy infinite varieties of pasta, but if you never cook them, they can’t feed you. I can feel myself building a good emotional stockpile lately; structure and routine and emergency contacts. But I can’t feel myself putting any of it to use yet. If you know me well, you know how hard I must be fidgeting.
I’ve started sleeping in lots of layers to feel more contained- even socks. Does that mean anything?
A lot of my friends are branching out in their relationships. Meeting new people, or looking at old ones in different lights. I’m proud of them. These are happy things to watch. And it’s even freeing to sit back and watch other people try to figure things out for once. And then sometimes…some days, I have that acute memory of standing on a train platform and realizing the rest of the group got on the right train, and the doors just closed without you and you’ll have to wait for the next one.
You know you’ll all get to the same place. But you might have to make the journey on your own. And you realize- you wouldn’t have minded laughing in between stops together, even if it is a little cramped.
What I’m trying to say is that when I open my fridge, I see myself in the half-eaten, well-intentioned, family-sized lasagna, only I don’t want to say it like that. Do you get what I’m trying to say?
A walk in the snow by yourself is peaceful, but less so when you’re telling yourself to enjoy it. You notice how few people are outside.
Every day, I have to remind myself, enjoy this. You’ll miss this. Don’t try so hard to notice everything. Just be here, whatever that means. I guess some days, telling myself to enjoy it gets old, and today was just one of those days. Today, a few trains left without me. But I’ll get the next one, whenever it does come.