What do you do when you run out of things to say? You work. You read. You take in other people’s stories. You put pen to paper in a journal no one else will ever read. You wonder if you’ll write again, but only half-heartedly, because you know you will. When the time comes, you write slowly, and you start with what you know. Always write about what you know. Or what you want to know.
This is what I know:
2011 was not good. It was the year after the year I graduated from law school and got married and passed the bar and flew to Europe and moved to Chicago and bought furniture and got a job. 2011 was the year I learned that all those things don’t add up to much except a life that looks good in pictures, or on a resume.
2011 was the year I learned that Mormonism doesn’t make me happy. Don’t misunderstand. I don’t mean to say it makes me unhappy. I mean to say, I used to think this peculiar religion was the key to everything sparkly and good. I embraced a fierce and devoted faith and came out of it still deeply unhappy. We don’t have all the answers.
An hour or so after midnight on January 1, 2012, I was huddled under a scratchy afghan on an air mattress in the basement entertainment room of the Rocky Mountain cabin that my in-laws rented for the holiday. I whispered through the dark to my husband. Last year was not good. I think this one has to be better. Robert quietly disagreed, as he often does, but this time I was glad for it. He is right that even our bad years are good. I was right, too, though. This year has to be better.
This is what I want to know:
This will be the year I learn how to make a beautiful life. Not in the form of pinboards or clothes or pictures on my blog. No, I want to take the time to watch the sun set over west Chicago from the window of my office in the sky. I want to feel the air in my lungs. I want to know that God sees me, and you, and you, too. I want this to be a year for doing good, or at least moving closer to it. I will embrace a fierce and devoted faith and a family so fierce and devoted they put my faith to shame. I want to know that this year will be better.