Everyday Spirituality

Archive for July 11, 2012


The Squiggly Line

I can remember years ago there was a TV show which included an unusual segment. Kids could submit a squiggly line and the star of the show would create a unique illustration in real time. Before he would begin to draw he would stare intently at the line. He would turn the paper on each side until he was captured by the idea.

I found this artist fascinating because he could always create something interesting from just a little squiggly line. He would talk as he drew making up a story to go with his drawing. At first you would not be able to decipher the final picture; he continued to add more lines as we intently watched. In the end it was usually surprising to see what he created from the original squiggly line.

This is where I am right now in my life…there is barely a squiggly line on the paper. Why is that, you may ask? Because someone in corporate America in their infinite wisdom has taken the canvas of our life and pitched it in the ditch, we now only have a single squiggly line.

I think of how often this may happen to a person after they have experienced a personal tragedy such as a chronic illness, a death, natural disaster etc. Even when I was walking with my friend through her illness the picture changed, but we still had the original page although it was looking very different.

The artist was planning in his mind what he was going to draw…he was in control once he picked up his drawing instrument. Here is the major difference with how I feel. I do not see that I have much control. I do not have control because someone else handed us this blank page with the squiggly line and proceeded to add stipulations about where, how, and when we could add to this line.

So we stare at the empty page with the squiggly line not sure where, how or when we should make a connecting line. We also do not know if we should just use a pencil for our lines. The line that was drawn for us in thick black ink; it is a stark contrast with the white paper.

We keep turning the paper to see if this line will appear to be something other than what it now seems to be, but it is no use…nothing changes.

Sometimes I just want to take this paper and tear it into a million little pieces and throw them into the face of the CEO.

Perhaps this squiggly line will turn into a beautiful picture but right now the pain and resentment it is causing does not seem worth the trouble. I want my old page back with all of the old lines, the curving lines of happiness, the sharp lines of grief, the harsh lines of disappointment, the stark lines of fear, the warm lines of love, and the curled lines of friendship. I could go on and on describing the forty years of lines each one connecting to the other. Mind you the connections were not always the most conventional; some of the connections were even forced at times. Forced or natural; they were still all connected into the one evolving design of who we have become together.

(Just to be clear here; my husband is not leaving me and he has not died.)

In a way it feels a little like one of those two things though. People say it will all turn out…God has a plan here…this happened to me and in the end I loved it. Well guess what I know this in my head but my heart is not there right now.

Sometimes I picture myself behind the bars of jail cell. My face pushed against the parallel bars, my hands firmly grasping the bars as I try to pull them apart. I cannot separate the bars I can only hold on to them, shake and scream to let me out.

I digress from the squiggly line. This page looks so blank and lonely. All the familiar lines are on another page that I want back. Driving the other day I thought, what do you really have control of in your life? It seems when I am sitting here before the keyboard and the blank screen I have control over the words I type.

Yes, I do have control over my thoughts, but it can be tiring to keep these many thoughts in control. Funny how there always seems to be a ‘yes—but’ lurking around.

Recently it was suggested to me that these next twelve months would be our year in exile… Wow! Exile.

Exile is forced upon a person for many different reasons. They certainly never want to put themselves in exile from the country they love. I am glad this squiggly line is on a separate piece of paper because then I can eventually put it away and be done with it. What happens over the next year will certainly have a lasting effect on the future of who we are as we continue our journey together.

I am seeking answers. I cannot see very far. I cannot plan even into next month. I do not have enough information to make any decisions about the future. All I know right now is that I am in a place that I would not have chosen.

Maybe this new squiggly paper will just be filled with lines drawn haphazardly not connecting together at all…just marks on the paper…the scribbles of a two year old.

We will use pencil and erase if needed. It will be harder to draw on this paper if I crumble it into a ball; so I will try to keep it in one open piece of paper.

For I know well the plans I have for you, says the Lord.

(oops, I thought Jeremiah was bull frog)