The dog began to bark and I knew my prep time had come to an end. My visiting friends from Woodbury had arrived, and it was time to take them through our new home. I simply laid down the strawberry slicing knife, ignored the fact things didn’t look quite the way I had imagined they would, and walked to the door.
It took everything in me to pretend I wasn’t bothered by how unfinished I felt. Actually, at this phase in my life, unfinished is the way I feel practically all the time.
My kids are in school full time, have been for years, and I have less finished on a daily basis than I ever did when they were crawling around under my desk.
I used to be able to finish blogposts (edited and polished and ready for the world.) The lives of our growing children has interrupted my finishing. Actually, for quite some time now, I have stopped starting…because I know I will rarely have a chance to finish the way I hope.
We’re not finished with a lot of things around here. We’re not finished emptying out the detached garage that is currently housing those must-move-with-us-but-probably-won’t-ever-unpack boxes. (we moved in April) We’re not finished hanging pictures or shopping for wall art or furnishing rooms that don’t have pieces to fill them. We’re not finished organizing the clutter in the house or training our children in the ways of the world or to pick up their own rooms.
I’m not finished culling through boxes of photographs or organizing my books onto shelves or putting piles of my paper into a functional system. I’m not finished learning how to cook and bake and I’m certainly not finished with so many writing projects that I have energy enough to start but lack time enough to finish.
This is my life
Before I even had a chance to finish this blogpost I got a text from our oldest. Usually the first sign I will not be finishing what I’m doing.
Our across-the-street neighbor, who is dying of cancer, has been out nailing and painting his mailbox the last few days. Maybe he is trying to finish it before the weather changes…or he runs out of time. I can only imagine the list of things he hopes to finish in the time he’s given and once again I am challenged by the life being lived across the street by someone whose life is finishing.
Maybe life isn’t about finishing at all. Things are always unfinished, but while I sit waiting… paralyzed to start things I don’t think I can finish well, I miss out on moments that could complete me.
I’ve decided completion doesn’t always look like finishing.
So, I am writing without being able to finish well. Sending my writing into the world is the way my life feels most complete. My new way to write reflects my new way of living…unfinished…unpolished…but unapologetic. Take it or leave it.
Middle Sprout has decided to learn how to play volleyball. Many of the girls had to step out on the court without really knowing how to play. I need to approach life the way a 7th grader approaches a new activity. Sometimes you have to get out there and do what you are not ready to do. I don’t know how to write without really finishing, but my life demands writing and I’m not really living if I don’t do it the way I can in the moments I’ve been given.
The 3 lessons I’ve chosen to grow through this week:
You have to host before the house is ready.
You have to serve before you are finished learning how.
You have to write what comes out in a morning…and post it before it is finished