Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Progress. Or Indigestion. Or Spring. Something.

Dear John,
 
I'm either making progress or having my annual Spring Attack. I'm not sure which.
 
Remember my spring attacks? Every year, at the end of winter or the beginning of spring, I'd have this immense restlessness and have to do something crazy. My senior year of college, I bought blue and green nail polish - and, in those days, nobody wore blue and green nail polish. How wild and reckless I was! And when we were first dating, that's how I knew it was serious. You were the only guy since the first guy, that held my interest for two springs. Two turned into thirty-eight, and you left in the spring. I haven't had a spring attack since.
 
But I may be having one now - I'm not sure. I'm feeling this great restlessness. It seems to center around the question of what I'm going to do with the rest of my life, what I want to be when I grow up. I've never really had to answer that question before. I grew up, went to college, my major chose me, and then I fell in love. I got my BSN and became a critical care nurse, married you and became your wife. Both things found me, both were obvious and inevitable, and I never questioned the rightness of either one.
 
Now both have been taken away from me. And I'm feeling the need to have a purpose of some sort. I enjoy my job, but it's a job and not a purpose. I need something I can throw myself into, something worth giving my life to. I don't want to just make a living; I want a calling.
 
And I have no idea what to do about it. I've never gone looking for a purpose; they've always come to me. Should I wait, keep my eyes open, and expect that to happen again? Or is this a different time of my life and I should expect it to be different this time? Do I need to go looking? And where on earth does one look for a purpose? I doubt that Craig's List, E-bay, or even Etsy would be of any assistance. This seems to be a thing of the heart. And, if that is true, it can only be found by following my heart.
 
Listening to my heart is frightening to contemplate. For two years all my heart has done is break, and scream like a mandrake in the process. Can it say anything positive or constructive now? I'm a little afraid to listen too closely to it. Maybe it's too soon to think about things like this - maybe it's just another Spring Attack - or delusion, or senility, or indigestion. I don't know what it is. But it won't go away.
 
Whenever my heart started moving in a direction I hadn't anticipated, you supported me and told me to listen and follow it. That was easier to do when you were beside me. Everything was easier when you were beside me. I wasn't afraid of anything then. Now everything is hard and takes so much courage. But you can pray for me like you always have, and even better now than before. So please pray for me. I don't expect to go buy blue and green nail polish, and that wouldn't be wild anymore, anyway. But if there is something crazy I need to do, let me know. Help me figure out who and what I am now - I have no idea at all. All I am is your widow, and that's a label without content - it just denotes lack and emptiness. Maybe having a purpose would make me feel a little less empty.
 
Thanks again for listening - we were married for so long that I can hear your comments as I talk to you. And I know you're right - I need to wait, trust, pay attention, and relax about it. But I do know that something is changing in me. And that is probably good, though scary.
 
Still love you more than life,
Joan.

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