It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
Wendell Berry, “The Real Work”
I found this Wendell Berry poem in Anne Lamott’s Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, a copy of which was given to me by my colleagues at the Curb Center during a graduation weekend reception. They wrote me the most generous, encouraging, lovely notes inside the front cover. They’ve become my friends and supporters, cheerleaders and lunch-sharers. Improbable moments of grace defined my year with them, as if the Lord said to me, “Stop by their doors before you put down your bag and get to work. This is your work. Laugh with them. Let your life fill up again.”
I haven’t blogged in almost two months. I have everything and very little to say. I’ve been job-searching, driving, phone-calling, dishes-washing, event planning, teaching, interviewing, shopping, cleaning, downtown-Franklin-walking, salad-eating, coffee-drinking. Everything normal with big things echoing underneath, like doing your hair on graduation day.
I’ve been in the midst of what I want to do – advocate for the arts, champion the power I believe the arts have in our lives. But this is the also the first time I’ve ever just straight-up not known what I’m doing next. There’s no career ladder, next step, required degree or typical job. I’ve done everything I know to do.
So I arrive at Wendell Berry’s words, the impeded stream trying to sing. I’m trying to figure it out amid these improbable moments of grace that hold me up through long uncertain days. I’m trying, and mostly I’m thinking about how grateful I am to have a life filled to the gills with my people – new and old friends, all people who get me and know me. It’s as if they’re sending me out, every day, to try.
Mostly the comfort comes in knowing this is the real journey. And I can come out singing.