We need a few things from the store.
As the weather grows warm, afterschool ramen loses popularity, and Snowman puts in a request for cold cuts. The dogs have worked their way through the little bags of food I bought the other day, thinking Pure Luck would buy a big one when he got home. We are out of the special trash bags without which City By the Sea will not collect our garbage. If you asked the children you would get a longer list of desired items not to be found in refrigerator or cupboard. I sent Snowman to 7-11 today for laundry detergent.
Of course that is only a list of ordinary things a family needs.
My friend, Linda, shared a question about the idea that sometimes what we fear is what we need.
I need a fair amount of human interaction. I like to talk on the phone, or be with people, or check my e-mail or have lunch out somewhere. Sometimes I positively need to touch base with someone, as if it’s the only way I know I exist. I wish I could say I have evolved past that point, but perhaps it’s progress to be conscious of the need.
I’m afraid to be alone, you see. I imagine that is not an unusual feeling for an extrovert with an abandonment complex. But it’s odd, because after a day spent doing all those things I listed above, I feel exhausted, drained, overwhelmed, ready for a monastery where the inhabitants have taken a vow of silence. Give me a box of sharpened Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Soft Lead Pencils and a pad of paper or a notebook and send me into the woods, I think, or let me sit by the lake.
But, really, I manage to avoid those opportunities. On retreats, I seek out the other extroverts and talk instead of sitting quietly. I pray on the fly, I write best in the midst of distractions (or so I think), and as the time of being apart from my husband has stretched longer than originally planned, I feel myself fragmenting. The brave effort to manage all things well usually runs out of steam when his return is in sight.
It has been the work of the last decade, the years since my divorce from The Father of My Children, to learn to be alone, but on some deep level I still fear it the way a baby of a certain age fears being left alone forever when her mother leaves the room.
I think the motif of basic insecurity–and by basic I mean essential, something so deep as to be at my root–is my story to live over and over in this life, to revisit time and time again, in memories and in the present. Somewhere there is a balance to be found between being alone and being actively engaged in relationship; perhaps it’s possible they may exist alongside one another rather than excluding each other’s possibility.
So, to answer Linda’s question, I fear being alone, so I suppose I need a little more of it.