I realized I wasn’t teaching these tiny people how to use their imaginations or how to be creative because they already were practically brimming over with innate curiosity. They were being who they were born to be — curious people. And if they were born like that, then surely I was, too. Over the years of working with children I learned to learn from them, and in the process, I have learned about myself.
It was not long after we landed that I became keenly aware of my own needs, which seemed myriad and great, physical and emotional and practical. As my pregnancy progressed, my body ached and grew weary very quickly, yet my responsibilities for my son and our household in this new place required a lot of physical activity. I was coming from a place where my sanity, and that of our son, was maintained by interacting with other families with small children on a daily basis, but in Iceland I knew no one.
I did want to tell my story kindly. I love my family. It delights me that that is how it has come across. I see no benefit for myself or others if I tell a story filled with anger and bitterness. Frankly, I think if I am unable to extend mercy to the people in my story, and receive the gifts they have given, even ones that have caused suffering, then I should wait until I am able to process, to heal more deeply.
As my journals filled with the details of my life — raising children to adulthood, becoming a writer, years of hosting people and events, the development of Art House America, pursuing a seminary degree, and becoming a grandmother — the words on the page gave me eyes to see the significance of the smaller things that are always present.
Sure, there are high points, nameable moments of climax — but most of my daily life still takes place in the in-between.
I wanted to do it alone. I lit the candles in the kitchen and turned on some music. Today, this would be the way I talked to God, and what I wanted to talk about was my grandmothers, and the way I wanted to talk about them was by doing something with my hands that their hands had done time and again.