Nothing Fond in Absence

They say “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Lately I’ve been repeating this to myself on a daily basis. My husband and I are spending time apart for the first time in 11 years. He has to go work out of town, and I’m back here managing our life as I have always done. And it’s incredible how I thought this tiny six word phrase (yes, I counted it just now, and I’m sure you did too) would make it easier to spend time apart.

I repeated it to myself over and over again as the date of our separation approached. I told myself over and over again that this would make our love stronger. The jury is still out on all this. But as I dove way too deep into this phrase, it made me think about this. Writing. How I go these lengths of time without writing. How my fingers slide across the screen and it fills the page with words and lights my soul on fire. And as I type these very words, I wonder why I haven’t written anything in so long. Writer’s block? Distraction? Maybe I am really no good at this and I should stop anyway. But as I write and words spew out, I realize that my heart has missed this very thing. That my brain wraps itself around a thousand things in one day, and then unwraps itself every night.

I go in and out of my daily routines and tasks, and I never prioritize the thing that lights me up. I’m certainly not alone in this. Millions of people wake up each day and just go through the motions. Maybe they don’t know what lights them up. Maybe they do. Maybe they’re avoiding the thing they love to do because they feel guilt for loving it in the first place. But as time goes on and you get farther and farther away from that spark, you almost forget you had it at all. You don’t even realize it, and then suddenly, it’s passed you by entirely.

Allow yourself the space to do something you love.

Sure, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but as I write these sentences now, I ask myself why I separated myself from this in the first place. I selfishly sabotage myself. But it isn’t about me at all, really. It’s about the way I feel when I do the thing that lights me up. That feeling, that spark, sets my soul ablaze and reincarnates me into a new bird the next day, the next hour. The words build on the words and become sentences. The sentences become paragraphs, and then suddenly, I’m wondering if this is too many words to read at once.

And when I finish and look back on it all, I inhale deeply the feeling of satisfaction I have with myself. And not because I think I’m some great writer, but because I’m proud that I allowed myself the space to do something that I love.

Maybe you suck at writing. Maybe instead, you like to crochet. You’re really good at it, but never take the time to do it. And over time, you think it was silly in the first place to even like that, because after all, who really cares about your crocheting? YOU do! And as tiny and insignificant as crocheting a scarf may seem to some, I’ll bet the satisfaction on the last stitch is quite spectacular.

Am I the most profound writer of all times? By no means. But when I write and I think and I type and it flows out, that tiny spark bursts into flame, and that flame lights up all the other things I manage on a daily basis. It makes dishes and laundry and car loops more. It makes every task I do, more. Better. And I’m better for it.

Crochet the scarf. Take the pictures. Sand the dresser and spray paint it because you know it will be so much better white with new hardware. Then stand back and marvel at the thing you did. Because surely the spark will light a flame. 

Reality Changing Observations:

1. What activity makes you feel really alive?

2. Do you make time for it? If not, why not?

3. How might making time for it change you and change the rest of your life?

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