Turning 40

This Fall, I officially entered my forties.
What did I do to celebrate?
I hit the rails.

About this time last year, my husband and I began discussing what we’d like to do to celebrate my 40th birthday. My first suggestion was to take the whole family on a cross-country train trip, maybe out to Colorado or up to Maine. He wasn’t opposed to the idea but, after doing some digging about options for the trip, he asked–

Wouldn’t you rather just go someplace by yourself? Like maybe go on a writing retreat somewhere? Or rent a cabin in the woods and be alone for a few days?”

Ding! Ding! Ding!
We have a winner!

Let me pause here and say that some of you probably think it’s absolutely bonkers that I would want to celebrate my 40th birthday alone, let alone be alone for days at a time. To be honest, my husband thinks it’s a little bonkers, too. But he knows me well enough to know that one of the things I long for most these days is a quiet moment alone to do my favorite things–rest and read and write and be outdoors.

So, I got to work planning my perfect 40th birthday adventure
80 hours of train travel.
A few days of hiking.
A few days in an idyllic small town.
8 total days alone to rest and read and write and hang out outside.

Then, in September, after months of planning and waiting and waiting and waiting, I put my kids to bed in Cincinnati and hopped on a train for Glacier National Park in Montana.

The trip went off without any major issues except that, 24hrs before I was to head back home, Amtrak cancelled my train due to an impending labor strike (that never actually happened). Because of the weird train schedule in Cincinnati, I couldn’t just reschedule for the next available train because it would have set me back a full two or three days. So, instead of enjoying a 40hr train trip back home, I spent an extra day in Whitefish, Montana and then flew home via Seattle, Washington.

It was a little frustrating to arrive home tired after a sleepless night in an airport, but the whole debacle only set me back 12 hours total and gave me a great story to tell about “that time I was stranded in Montana.”

My trip was honestly the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.

A few notable thoughts and highlights–

  1. I planned the entire trip to be accessible on foot, rail, bike, and shuttle.
    Everything–my hotel and airbnb, the national park, grocery stores, coffee, and restaurants–was in perfect proximity to each other. It was a pedestrian dream and now I can’t imagine traveling any other way.
  2. My family did just fine without me.
    This is huge because, leading up to my trip, I struggled with a lot of anxiety about how my husband and kids would make it through a whole week without me. I’d never been away from my kids for more than 48 hours, and have not traveled alone in 15 years. I wasn’t afraid of being alone, but it was a real stretch for me to extract myself from our home life and trust that everything would be fine. As it turns out, the world doesn’t revolve around me like I thought it did and my husband is a great dad and a perfectly capable grownup man. This was a good lesson to learn.
  3. I had so. much. time.
    My life at home with four kids and a family business and all the other things we do is really chaotic. I feel like there’s rarely a moment when someone doesn’t need something from me. It has been years since I had the time and space to enjoy extended moments of mental quiet and physical space. Talking with my husband after I returned, I marveled at the fact that there were moments I was actually “thinking about nothing.” Friends, this never happens in my daily life. It was a real blessing and exactly what I needed.
  4. I have a lot of unprocessed thoughts and feelings.
    One of my goals for my trip was to do a lot of writing and get down on paper some of the thoughts and ideas that have been swirling through my head the past few years. “Maybe I’ll start writing a book, or finish my new album,” I thought. But I didn’t quite get to the point of producing any sort of finished product during my trip. In the time I had to be alone with my thoughts, I realized I have a lot of unresolved things swirling around inside me that I might be getting closer to understanding, but not expressing in a meaningful way. This was a surprise to me because I consider myself a pretty introspective and self-aware person.
  5. Health is a great blessing.
    I traveled a week after Labor Day, which I’ve now affectionately dubbed “retiree season,” because most of the other people I met and saw traveling were Boomers enjoying their retirement. While chatting with strangers about their travels, I had a recurrent thought that it is a great blessing to be in good enough health to be able to travel in older age, let alone to be able to climb a mountain into your 60s and 70s. I pray for the blessing of good health into my empty-nest years. And, while I am happy to say that I am healthier now at 40 than I was at 30, I know that I have a lot of work to do if I want to be as healthy at 60 as I am now.
  6. I miss being in the woods.
    There’s something exhilarating about being at the mercy of the outdoors. I think it’s the same thing I love so much about living in the city–that feeling of vulnerability, of being a small part of something so much bigger than yourself. But, in natural spaces, the feeling is magnified by all the unknown and all the uncertainty of wild things. I love that feeling. I’ve never been a hardcore wilderness woman or anything like that, but the second I stepped out of my hotel that first day and started walking into an unknown, outdoor space, a missing part of me came alive again. And it felt amazing.

Which leads me to my most vivid memory of the trip–

I arrived at the train station in West Glacier, Montana, around 10pm at night and had a room booked at the historic chalet across the street. I had a seat booked on a shuttle at 7:30am the next morning to take me into the national park for a day of hiking, but the shuttle never showed up. (It was a private hotel shuttle from the train station to a hotel inside the park and, because the train was delayed, the shuttle was delayed to accommodate.)

I checked my map and decided that I’d just grab a coffee at the camp store and walk the 3 miles into the park to the nearest visitor center where I could hop on a public shuttle up to my planned hike. So, I started walking.

Once I entered the park, most of the walk was on a mixed use bike/hiking path straight into the woods.
It was cold.
I was alone.
I was surrounded by tall, looming trees.
It was almost completely silent.

And it was amazing.

I cried like a baby for that first 30 minutes.
It was so beautiful and I was just so damn happy to be there.

It feels really weird to admit that the happiest moment of my 40th birthday celebration was spent alone, in the cold, 2,000 miles from my husband and children. But I am willing to admit the profound tension I feel between loving the amazing, beautiful life I’ve been given and mourning the amazing, beautiful things I gave up to have this life.

I think it’s okay to be honest about those complicated feelings.
I think it’s more dangerous to pretend they don’t exist.

I really, truly love my normal, chaotic life, even if I’m often overwhelmed by the need and noise of it all.
And I am really, truly thankful for the five amazing people who were waiting for me when I got home.

(And I’m also really, truly excited to take another trip someday…)

A Few Words on the Passing of Frederick Buechner

The great writer, pastor, and theologian Frederick Buechner passed away yesterday.

I’m not an expert on his life, so I won’t belabor the facts apart from saying he was a Presbyterian minister and author of 39 published works, of various genres, and he died peacefully at the age of 96.

But, while the news is fresh and the urge to memorialize is strong, I want to share a few, brief words about what Frederick Buechner’s writing has meant to me.

I have written about Buechner a few times before, here and here. And I’ve probably mentioned or quoted him at other points that I cannot recall. So, if you’re a reader of mine, you’ve likely heard his name.

My introduction to Frederick Buechner was about twenty years ago, through a literature class in college called Faith & Doubt. Buechner’s The Sacred Journey was on the syllabus.

At the time, I was studying worship arts at a Christian college and, ironically (?), deeply struggling with my faith. From the moment I opened it, Buechner’s book was like a balm for my soul. I had come to the end of myself and my ability to process my struggle. Buechner’s book gave me language to express the spiritual angst I was feeling and let me know I was not alone. And, more than that, it gave me a glimpse of something beyond the struggle and into a place “beyond time,” where all things would be reconciled.

Shortly after reading The Sacred Journey, I mentioned the book to a friend and he asked, “But have you read Godric?!”

And that’s when I went down the rabbit hole.

In the years that followed, I read many of his books.

I read most of his fiction–Godric, Brendan, The Storm, On the Road with the Archangel, Son of Laughter, the four books of The Book of Bebb.
I read his four memoirs.
And I dug into his nonfiction, particularly his sermons and his books about preaching and writing.

I bought copies of my favorites. I gave copies away. I bought them as gifts. I pulled them off the shelf when I needed a friend.

Over the past twenty years, Frederick Buechner has become my own “personal theologian.”

I could get in trouble for saying that among my Reformed Presbyterian brethren, because Buechner could certainly fly a little loose with his theology. He could stretch Biblical narratives in ways that make some uncomfortable. He was colorful with metaphors and a bit audacious in his suggestions about how to apply them.

I would not have depended on Frederick Buechner to define my systematics, to be sure, but he helped craft some of the deeper, internal parts of my faith expression. He helped me reconcile my faith with the seemingly irreconcilable experiences of longing, doubt, pain, sadness, and remembrance. He helped me redefine the concept of “saint” and cultivated a generous spirit in me toward others on the journey of faith.

I can sense a bit of him in the cadence of my own writing and, most certainly, in the content. I’ve written more than a few songs inspired by him. And I’ve been pleased to introduce friends to his writing.

Not everyone loves reading him, of course.
There is a roundabout, indirect style to his writing that some readers find tedious. There is some redundancy in his sermons and memoirs. (He certainly had a “schtick.”)

I’ve never been offended by someone that wasn’t a Buechner fan.
But I’ve never met a Buechner fan I didn’t like.

I’m so thankful to have discovered him.
He’s been such a gift to me and so many others.

Happy Homecoming, Mr. Buechner.
All that’s been lost is found again.

Empty Moms; Empty Shelves

I’ve not been very interested in offering “hot takes” these days. But the media buzz–especially on Twitter–surrounding a nationwide baby formula shortage is so full of hot takes–the good, the bad, and the ugly–that I felt like offering one of my own.

(A good one, hopefully.)

Talking about breastfeeding and baby formula is rough terrain. Some women enshrine breastfeeding as a sacred art. And it’s common for women to feel great shame over their own failure to succeed at breastfeeding.

While I’ve always been a huge proponent of “breast is best” and gave 11 of my body’s best years to breastfeeding my children, I hope those close to me have never sensed any judgement or shame if they chose otherwise or couldn’t make it happen for them and their baby. And I hope anyone reading now hears me loud and clear when I say that formula feeding a baby does not make you a bad mom.

I’ve always been comfortable affirming what I believe is best, and encouraging others toward it, even when I couldn’t achieve it perfectly myself. And I’m always honest about my own shortfalls along the way. But I understand it’s hard to hear that someone thinks you’re not doing what’s “best” for your children. And it’s even worse if you feel you have no better options. So don’t hear what I’m not saying, please.

I’m an idealist. I want things to be the way they were created to be.

And I believe that women and their babies are created for a symbiotic relationship.

There is categorical evidence of the biological and emotional benefits of the bond between mom and baby, for both mom and baby. This bond is strengthened by breastfeeding, but breastfeeding is not necessary for it to happen.

Bonding is a complex tonic of physical closeness and emotional security. It happens through smells and sounds and touches. A child will naturally form a bond with any primary or consistent caregiver. (This is why adoption and fostering relationships can become so strong–as strong as blood.) But we have to be honest about the natural design of motherhood and how the biological relationship between mother and child naturally flows from pregnancy and childbirth into a period of postpartum healing and bonding as a pair. Severing the relationship between mother and child, at any point in this journey, affects both mom and baby. And it can be traumatic.

This doesn’t mean that women and children cannot thrive independently of each other. Certainly, children can effectively bond with another adult in the absence of their birth mother. But it does mean that independence is not the natural state of motherhood or childhood. And it will have consequences.

What does this have to do with baby formula?
Well, a nationwide baby formula shortage is only a crisis because so many American babies are dependent on formula. And the fact that so many American babies are dependent on formula is emblematic of a culture where mother and child live independently of each other. The bond has been severed.

Empty moms; empty shelves.

Now, hold on a minute. Hear me when I say this–
Breastfeeding, in and of itself, is not the solution. And formula, in and of itself, is not a problem

I can attest to the fact that breastfeeding is complicated.

We know that–on paper–the vast majority of women (say, 95%) are capable of nursing their children with success. And we know that doctors recommend at least 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. But breastfeeding is often difficult at first. It’s sometimes painful. It requires a significant time commitment. It can require dietary and lifestyle changes. And, for a small minority of moms, it is simply impossible.

Many women achieve initial success but then stop breastfeeding around 6 weeks due to exhaustion or concerns about milk production. Sometimes they quit because they are returning to work and want to transition their baby into being bottle fed. Sometimes they’ve started sleep training their baby and stopped night feedings, which affects production. And we know that, once a mother begins supplementing formula because her production slows, it spells disaster for production all together and the likelihood of extended breastfeeding shrinks.

So, while most women will attempt breastfeeding after childbirth, only 1 in 4 continue past 6 months. And half won’t even make it that far.

Enter the $6B baby formula industry.

Remember when I said “Breastfeeding, in and of itself, is not the solution. And formula, in and of itself, is not a problem.” Well, I meant it. Thank God for the modern science that created safe and healthy formula in the first place, right?

Formula is not the problem.
The problem is this: modern society works so hard against our created nature that we have to create more complicated and unnatural systems and industries and tools to survive. And that makes us very vulnerable as a society.

Complicating things has always been a problem with “modern” parenting through time, epitomized in wealthy women who hired wet nurses and tutors for their children while they enjoyed life as, functionally, non-mothers. Now it’s 2022 and we no longer employ (or enslave) wet nurses for our babies. But we do hire nannies. And send our toddlers to “preschool.” And choose to formula feed.

Don’t misunderstand me–
Any benevolent society maintains its safety nets. And things like affordable preschool and WIC and paid maternity leave need to exist. Yes! But they should continue to exist, primarily, to protect the vulnerable and mothers who have no options other than to work or use formula or pay others to care for their children.

Let me clarify–
I would never suggest we should force a woman to submit to the work of motherhood rather than pursue her career or her social life. Every woman navigates these things for herself. Sometimes, a woman’s decision to send her kid to preschool is a matter of mental health and her own survival. (Trust me, I understand it.) And sometimes a woman truly feels that she has no options other than to maintain her career. (Sometimes she is correct.)

Remember: this post is about formula and breastfeeding, but it’s not really about formula and breastfeeding.

It’s about a modern society where the symbiotic relationship between mother and child is too commonly severed too quickly. Our dependence upon baby formula, as evidenced by the current crisis, is both a symptom of this cultural problem and symbolic of it.

Empty moms; empty shelves.

This is why, when idiot internet ideologues suggest, to the moms searching desperately for baby formula, “Why don’t you just breastfeed?” they are both very wrong (because that’s not how breasts work, dummy) and very right.

There is a very simple solution to this problem.
But it’s much more complicated than we want it to be.

I’ll end with this:
The first, best option for mom and baby is always “baby with mom” for at least a year. Maybe longer.

In every developmental sense, with the exception of abusive situations or severe neglect, this is the best option. Not the only good option. But the best option. And I don’t think any intellectually honest person could argue against this. The benefits to both mother and child are significant and one of these benefits–only one–is that it makes breastfeeding much easier.

But to make this possible, to make it easy for moms to choose the work of motherhood, even just for a season, we need support systems–inside the family, the workplace, and the government–to make it happen.

I have a few ideas for how this could work. And I have opinions about a few of the ideas I’ve heard for how it could work. This is a conversation that needs to happen. But the first step is admitting we might be doing it wrong in the first place. We might be wrong about motherhood and what’s best for our children.

I’d love to help build a world where a different kind of modern motherhood is possible.

A Lenten Confession

Here on Ash Wednesday, I’d like to share a liturgy I wrote (oh so long ago!) in 2008.

Forty Days, Forty Sins

In observance of the Lenten season and its forty days of reflection, this is my confession:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

1. I have not loved you with my whole heart.

2. I have not loved my neighbor as myself.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

3. I have secrets.

4. Yet, I claimed to be honest.

5. I have lied with pride to save face,

6. and in self-deprecation to appear humble.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

7. I have cursed you silently

8. and openly.

9. I have laughed with those who mock you

10. And tolerated those who hate you.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

11. I have not loved your Church.

12. I have avoided your people for the sake of my own comfort,

13. for the sake of my dogma,

14. for the sake of my preferences.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

15. I have not been faithful with all you have given me.

16. I have claimed a right to your blessings

17. and have hoarded them.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

18. I have not thanked you enough privately

19. nor publicly.

20. I have accepted the credit for your work.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

21. I have not loved those whom you have brought closest to me:

22. my family;

23. my friends;

24. the strangers on the street.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

25. I have not proclaimed your name to the nations,

26. nor to my own city.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

27. I have quenched your Spirit out of fear

28. and embarrassment.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

29. I have delighted in my sin.

30. And in the memory of my sin.

31. And in anticipation of my sin.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

32. I have believed you would abandon me

33. and I have acted in fear.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

34. I have not spoken enough about the joy of knowing you,

35. nor the thrill of a life with you,

36. nor the peace found in you,

36. nor the magnitude of my pain without you.

37. I have left too much unsaid.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

38. I have been impatient with you

39. and with others.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

40. I have not preached the resurrection.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.


When God Doesn’t Pick You

My most common refrain these days is, “I just don’t get it.”

And I truly don’t.

At a friend’s house a few weeks ago we were discussing the parable of the sower from Matthew 13. And, while I’ve heard the parable a million times in my life, there was something new in the story for me this time.

It felt sad.
Cruel, even.

Because I don’t understand how, in a good God’s economy, He could invite you to serve and watch you labor doing all the right things–even doing them with joy–but never allow you to see the fruit of your labor.

Why would God ask us to glorify Him in our failures when He could just as easily give us great success?

Why would God ask us to be satisfied with itty bitty seedlings when we know He could have grown the whole damn fruit tree right here before our eyes if He wanted to?

Last summer, my husband and I walked away from a church where he’d been serving as the pastor.

My husband and I have always shared a dream to serve a church in our neighborhood. We thought God opened a door for us at this church but, after four years of laboring, God did not bless our ministry.

We did not find favor with the members.
We did not see the Gospel take root.
We did not see the church renewed.

At least that’s the way it appears from this side of the situation.

(And there is, obviously, so much more to this story…)

We walked away from a really big dream. And it hurt really bad.

And while I don’t feel traumatized or bitter by what happened, I really don’t get it.

You see, this most recent failure has not been our only failure, alone or together. We’ve got a lot of unfulfilled dreams between us. And nothing good we’ve done together has come easily.

We both seem to have a habit of taking uphill climbs that end in nothing but cloudy views, proverbially speaking.

In middle school, I had a particularly heinous homeroom teacher who tortured the class with stopwatch speed drills and disciplinary times tables. She never liked me. And there is one conversation between us that has haunted me since.

“You could be so much more,” she said.

I was probably about twelve years old. And she probably meant it as a motivational exhortation toward excellence. But, instead, I heard it as condemnation and felt the immense pressure to be more, to do more, to achieve more.

For most of my life, I think I’ve been living in the shadow of my potential.

I could be more.

I think most of us find ourselves caught in comparison at some point in our lives.

Sometimes we’re comparing ourselves to other people, perhaps those who have been given the good things we thought God was going to give us.

This comparison game is dangerous, of course. And indulgent. Because everyone has unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. There are things that God has allowed me to have–children, for example–that other people are never given.

Yes, this comparison game gets us nowhere helpful. I think most of us know that. But, maybe the real heartbreaking game we play isn’t when we compare ourselves to someone else, but when we compare our real self to our “could’ve been” self.

Identity crisis. Midlife crisis. Whatever you want to call it.

Most (honest) people will tell you that you can be 100% satisfied—in an immediate, existential sense—with the life you’ve been given while still wondering at the life you could have had instead. Or wondering at the series of circumstances that brought you do where you are rather than where you intended to be.

What would my life look like if I’d gone to the that other college? If I’d never moved to Cincinnati? If we’d waited longer to have kids? If I’d pursued a career? If we’d bought a different house?

Maybe you’ve been there, too. My sense is that this is a pretty universal experience at some level.

When you believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, you have to reckon with not only the providence of God in giving you good things, but also His benevolence in withholding things from you.

That’s really hard.

Who’s to blame for the ”missed trains” or disappointments or unfulfilled dreams in my life?

I vacillate pretty frequently between alternately blaming myself, then God, then back again, for my failures. I can spiral quickly from confusion and dissatisfaction into self-loathing and hopelessness. I can feel trapped in my circumstance, incapacitated by personal weaknesses and bad decisions.

“Why didn’t God pick me to do that thing that He put in my heart to do?” I ask.

“Because there’s something wrong with me.”


I’ve had this internal dialogue a lot this year as I watched our last big failure fizzle out. It’s been a lot to process. I feel pretty disappointed and humbled and insecure.

I don’t know why I’m sharing this. I’m not really looking for comfort or reassurance. And I’m not ”struggling” in any urgent sense that I need an intervention from my six loyal readers. (Ha!)

Maybe I’m just banking on the fact that you (Unnamed Mysterious Reader Somewhere) feel the same way.

And if you feel left out, like you missed the train, like you’re caught on the outside looking in to the only party you’ve ever wanted to be invited to—

You’re not alone.

I know how it feels.

It’s like you got an invitation to the game. You practiced real hard. You put on the uniform and showed up and smiled and were really eager but you didn’t get picked for the team.

God didn’t pick you.

You’re right. It’s hard and confusing.

I just don’t get it.

2021: the expanse

When I logged in and saw that my last post was in March, I freaked out a little bit.

I guess it’s been a while since I published anything here, huh?

There are posts I’ve begun these past few months and never finished. Posts about homeschooling. Posts about ministry. Posts about the politics of maternity leave or vaccinations.

There are posts I’ve dreamt up in my head, rehearsed in the shower or on a long drive. I’ve even recorded a few on a voice memo on my phone, thinking I could transcribe the best of my thoughts at a later time, when I felt like writing it all out.

But I don’t feel like writing. Not really. I simply don’t care as much about my own opinions as I did a year ago.

Possibly related–
For the first half of 2021, I forced myself into a literature fast.

Even though I’d recently accumulated a good dozen nonfiction books I was eager to read, I decided I’d read only fiction for at least six months. It was an effort to extract my mind a from the world of problems and solutions and embed it more deeply in human experience.

What resulted from this experiment was a sense of ideological ambivalence that I’ve rarely experienced in my life before. I’m maybe taking myself and the world a little less seriously these days. Or at least feeling a little less responsibility to have a strong opinion about it as I go about my business.

So, what’s new in my life?

In 2020, even in the midst of a pandemic, our family life remained fairly stable and unchanged. My husband kept working. We were already homeschooling. We stayed healthy. Etc.

2021, on the other hand, has brought our family a lot of changes.

First, in June, my husband resigned from his pastor position at a local church. There was no scandal or anything like that. It just didn’t work out.

We invested more than three years in a hard place. We wanted it to succeed. We fought hard. But, we lost. The church didn’t really want us and disagreed about what it needed. So we walked away.

To most of the people who watched it all happen, his resignation was not a surprise. Maybe it wasn’t even a surprise to us. But it was still hard and confusing and there’s probably more I’ll say about that at some point.

Then, a month ago, my husband resigned from his “day job.”

After 13 years working at a nonprofit affordable housing ministry, he’s now working for himself full-time. This is very exciting for our family. It’s something we’ve discussed on and off for a few years and finally felt it was the right time. But, as he’s the sole provider for our family, this is also a huge transition and a significant step of faith for all of us.

These big occupational and vocational changes have been upsetting. I don’t mean they make me angry or depressed or “upset” in the colloquial sense, but that they have rattled me a little bit. Shaken me up. Made me question where we should be and what we should be doing.

Maybe my husband’s work is only the tip of the iceberg.
Maybe it’s time for everything to change.

In some ways, here in 2021, our future as a family feels like a vast expanse of opportunity. We could go anywhere from here. But, the things I’m longing for most seem the most elusive–quiet and peaceful spaces, work I can be proud of, a slower pace, and the comforts of community.

Lately, when I feel like chasing a rabbit hole, I’ve been doing some research into my family history.

I’m tracing the roots of my family tree into old, distant places like Bohemia, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the West Midlands. I’m looking for photos and searching property and census records, scanning immigration and military records, and searching through Holocaust victim records (what?) to find out who I really am.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m suddenly interested in my ancestry. So much of our life is in transition that I’m feeling untethered.

I want to know where I belong.
I want to know who my people are.

Who are my people?

Theres’s probably a season of every person’s life when they start to ask these questions–whence have I come and to where shall I go?

And, even more so, what am I supposed to be doing along the journey?

Maybe there’s something about my 40th year that makes the questions more poignant. At this stage in life, it doesn’t seem to too late to make a change. But I get the sense the tipping point is approaching and the urgency is rising.

When I think about a new season for me and for my family, I think about buying a farm or a defunct Bible camp or a historic estate in the middle of nowhere, as if a few acres and some honeybees will give me the space I need to find “my work” and as if getting a dog will cure my children’s loneliness.

Dogs are easier than friends, I think.
And keeping honeybees could be more fruitful than songwriting.

But the thought of digging up roots, starting over again, building something from nothing, is terrifying. And I don’t want to do it.

I don’t want to have to walk away and move on to find a new place. I wanted this to be my place. I wanted to find my people here.

But I haven’t found them yet.

I’m very distracted these days. I try to focus on the task at hand. I try to be present with my kids, with my husband, with my friends. But my mind is somewhere else, trying to peek around the corner, into the expanse, to see what comes next.

I still can’t see it.

I wonder if I’ll ever get to write a book. Release a new album. Go back to school. Hike that big, long trail.

I wonder who my friends are. Whether people want me around. Who I could call at 4am if I needed them.

I wonder whether my kids are learning enough. Whether they’ll resent the way we’re raising them. If they’ll remember me at my best or at my worst.

I wonder if I’ll ever be any good at being married.

The whole point of this post, I guess, is to say I don’t really have anything important to say right now.

And to say that, yes, I’m still here. But I’m busy with a new family business. And I’m distracted by life’s biggest questions. And, while I do have opinions to share and stories to tell, I’d rather offer them in real time, in real life, with real people.

I’m just trying to quiet my heart, keep my head down, and walk faithfully in one direction until I’m pointed elsewhere.