It is deeply freeing to let go of the belief that we are supposed to be ever productive, always advancing, accumulating, accelerating. While our culture of work and education may have handed us this ideal or expectation, our lived experience, our mythical traditions, and nature itself, speaks to a different truth.
I often get asked why I work with women in Lebanon. The answer is that I’m not totally sure. I can tell the story (I will), but like just about every other significant turn in my life - meeting my husband, working in tech - it was kind of an accident.
Flat fields of Ohio corn and apple trees as far as the eye can see and the spire of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church beckoning to followers for miles. It was 1917 and Frances Catherine was newly married.
1918, no children.
1919, no children.
1920, still no children.
Resigned to childlessness, she and her husband Edmund built a beautiful new house in the country and had living room furniture custom-made in luxurious, deep, dark purple velvet.
I usually make myself scrambled eggs, but sunny-side up looks and tastes more luxurious and rich to me. I think it’s a better method for appreciating and honoring an egg. This morning as I broke the runny yolk, however, it occurred to me why I don’t prepare them this way more often.
Maybe it’s because I’ve had a weekend to myself, talking to no one but an impassive journal, that I’ve become more attuned to the movements of my own mind, but I realized that breaking the yolk makes me anxious. Every time. It spills all over the plate. You can try to corral it, but it’s always too late.
I wanted to travel to Lebanon. I had a handful of compelling reasons, both business and personal. Of course, the nation is bordered on two sides by Syria, the US State Department warns against travel there and ISIS held national headlines at the time, so I contacted the friends I knew who had experience with the area to get a sense of the real danger versus the sensationalized.
No one would guarantee that traveling to Tripoli was completely safe or promise that I had nothing to worry about and one friend who had the most experience with the Middle East (although for the most part only with the most dangerous areas of it) told me stories about hostages being traded and sold that was pretty scary. The videos of beheadings were haunting, too, especially for an overall violence-averse person who can’t even stomach an episode of Game of Thrones.
This is how fear works.