Open Letter to Marc Maron, Day 29 (on the uses of idleness)
Speaking of being overweight (I knew we’d get back here eventually…)
If anyone asks what I’ve been doing over the long weekend, I will say nothing. Whether or no I’m lying will depend on your perspective. There is still just as much laundry to wash as there was when the weekend started. There are no more groceries in the fridge. I have put away 5 letters that were on the coffee table, but the table is still undusted and covered with things to file. And I have added more clutter to the piles on the kitchen table rather than sorted any of the existing clutter back to where it belongs. That is one perspective.
As I was stepping out of the shower, which I took about 5pm because I couldn’t remember if I had showered yesterday or the day before (showers I assign to that part of life Virginia Woolf calls moments of “nonbeing,” they exist but are not worthy of memory). I thought to myself, “Oh, but God doesn’t leave you empty-handed. He doesn’t take anything away if he’s not planning to give you something else.” I was thinking about my period and how for roughly 35 years I’d bled away about 12 possible children a year and though I’m still bleeding that space between the door of my fertility being open and the door being shut is less than a sliver. And then I thought, but what has been made possible—not just for me, but for others—because I haven’t had children? And then I remembered the thing about God not leaving us empty-handed, about God being not a God of lack, but of abundance, so I don’t not have children, I have something else (freedom to write? money to spend on others? time to heal emotionally?)
And if I hadn’t spent all weekend watching Criminal Minds and occasionally getting up from the couch to warm up a burrito or make a cup of decaf or pull the dirty pillowcases off the pillows and throw them on the bedroom floor, would I have had stumbled into that thought as I stepped out of the shower? That’s the other perspective.
I just needed to write that down, to remind myself that sometimes my real work doesn’t look like work at all. Yet the end result is far more profound than a basket full of clean sheets or a fridge full of food. Though those are nice too.
To be continued….