Thursday, July 29, 2010


1 : again : anew

Is it hard to start something for the first time?  Or is it harder to pick it back up again when you have a skill, a talent, an interest that you've let atrophy?  Three things have prompted this line of thinking:  having a newly functioning kitchen, exercising again in earnest for the first time since my January surgery, and experiencing the loss of community that came with a switch in churches.

Who knew a new kitchen would actually bring on a touch of cooking anxiety?  The first meal I made in our new kitchen wasn't terribly elaborate:  tomato tart, zucchini patties and a fruit trifle.  The primary emotion I felt when the meal came together just fine and tasted delicious?  Relief.  I didn't realize until relief surged through my body that I had been afraid I had forgotten how to cook.  This may sound ridiculous, but when I stopped to think about it, it had been many months since I'd been able to regularly cook. 

The New Kitchen's Inaugural Meal
The kitchen renovation kept me from cooking for four to six weeks - no surprise there.  But prior to that, my surgery in January had completely halted all cooking from me for a similar span of time.  Between the surgery and the renovation lay a lovely experiment:  food swap with three other families, which resulted in me cooking only once per week, albeit for four families.  So it had been approximately six months since I last cooked everyday meals for my family.  No wonder I was relieved to still have some culinary skill.

A graph of my work outs would have a similar gap.  Prior to my surgery in January, I worked out fairly regularly (2-3 times weekly) if not strenuously (yoga and walking were regular components).  Post surgery, it was several weeks before I could walk without assistance, much less exercise.  My surgeon, while skilled in her field, did not give me a good indication of just how long it would take for me to resume normal activity after having three tendons cut.  For a long time, when I tried to work out, it was simply discouraging.  My leg would hurt after each work out - and not in a good, achy, post-workout way - it was more of a searing pain, ice this now kind of way. 

So I stopped trying for a while.  Then, a few weeks ago, I realized how envious I was of the various people I see walking, jogging and running along our neighborhood sidewalks.  If my desire to work out had returned, it was worth giving it a try.  For the month of July, I've been moderately consistent and while I have a long way to go, the desire is there.  But it's hard to admit I now get tired after three minutes of running, instead of a mile of it.

No way am I posting a picture of me running

I would estimate we're in about mile 2 or 3 of the marathon task of finding a new church home.  Summer being what it is, we're in just about the same place we were in May, when J said, "We've determined that we like the Sunday morning experience.  Now we need to find out whether there are people we could actually be friends with."  We've been in this place before.  When A was born ten years ago, I would say we had very few true friends.  We hung out with co-workers quite a bit and saw a few friends from college days, but all in all those were pretty lonely days.  No one brought us meals to celebrate her birth.  Almost none of our friends had children, so there was nowhere to turn for advice. 

Carrying it all alone
 The difference between then and now is that now we know what we are missing.  I know that I'm lonely and miss the friendships - both close and casual - that I had at our old church.  I don't think this loss is without purpose because I continue to feel peace in our decision and I feel that God is working behind the scenes to use my sense of being alone for a purpose he knows.  But that doesn't make it easy.  It doesn't make it easier to once again engage with a group of people we know nothing about.  It doesn't make it easy to make small talk with strangers at an event (not my strong suit).  It doesn't make it possible for me to have enough inner dialogue to think through an issue in my own head like I could by talking it out with a friend.

Naming 2010 the year of change has been more apt than I knew back in January.  Change apparently brings not only new things, but old things in a new way.  In some ways, reestablishing my culinary skills, relearning to pace myself on a run and returning to a lack of community should be reassuring.  I've been here before and can relearn what I need to.  But sometimes I just want life to be easier than it is.

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