When I was in elementary school, my best friend had a Magic Eight Ball. We asked the oracle important questions like whether on not we should watch Love, American Style that night, and if certain boys we liked did indeed like us back.
We believed the eight ball when we received answers like: It is decidedly so, and all signs point to yes. We complied when it said: Concentrate and ask again, and reply hazy, try again.
But, when it answered: My sources say no, and don’t count on it, we shook and shook again until we got a without a doubt or as I see it, yes.
For the last year and a half, my husband and I have been looking into a future as blank as the blue liquid inside the Magic Eight Ball. Leaving his job, selling our home, moving nine hundred miles from our family and friends: we’ve been moving forward, trusting in God and intention as if the eight ball told us: You may rely on it. In the matter of his work—the job he was pursuing in California was withdrawn—well as the eight ball says, you will have to wait.
On my end, everything is working out. Little events seem to confirm that I'm on the right path. Two weeks ago, I came across a merlot-colored office chair sitting outside a non-profit office building with a note taped to it: Free.
I checked it out: Smallish and armless, with a wooden frame and wheelbase. The upholstery was in great shape, no stains or rips. I sat in it. The cushioning was still supportive with no signs of wear.
It’s exactly what I wanted for my writer’s studio, but didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for. I carried the chair a block to my car. It’s in the studio now, waiting for the writing guest who will arrive Saturday all the way from Utah to spend a week working on his Sci-fi novel.
After he leaves, I will host a copy-editor from Bavaria on a three-week working vacation to the island as she visits family. Last week, a traveling nurse from Michigan stayed for seven days, commuting to an ER room in Seattle twice for 12-hour shifts.
In between, have been hosting one and two night guests: an MFA student on Valentine’s Day, a couple traveling to Seattle for a business meeting, another couple celebrating the husband’s fiftieth birthday.
I Tigger around the house with each reservation request I receive, bouncy and giddy. Did my vision really become reality? I’m wowed, but I’m not unique: People pursue their dreams and passions everyday and are filled with creative energy in the process.
The creative high that zings through me when someone chooses to stay at my writer’s retreat is the same feeling I had when I first began writing, when I first began preaching and planning worship, when my husband and I first decided to have children.
I’ve been hibernating this past year, not as withdrawal, but as renewal. I’ve learned to feel comfortable in solitude, to accept myself outside of any roles or accomplishments in the community, to grow in internal spaciousness, to spend time with my husband, learning new skills from him, increasing in my appreciation of his genius, but not clinging to him for my self-definition or happiness.
Now that our writer’s retreat is launched, I’ve looked up to see the rest of our home still under renovation needing my attention, and beyond our walls to begin to discover where I fit and what I can contribute in this geographic place.
I began to think about what else fed me: holding the door open for creativity, leading writing workshops. But how do you lead workshops when you don’t know anyone? I attended a half-day workshop on mindfulness meditation led by a Christian spiritual director. We clicked. I asked if she’d be interested in co-leading a meditation/writing day in the future. She said yes.
A few days later, an organizer from Field’s End, a group that offers writing classes through our local library (I hang their posters around town and set up chairs for monthly presentations), asked if I’d like to lead an open writing group through the library. It’s funny you should ask, I told her.
It’s been a long, happy winter. In a rare moment, the sun shines. I grab my camera and snap pictures: Crocus push up through the lawn, purple and lavender, and tulips and daffodils sprout green shoots around the yard, everything emerging, like me ready to bloom where they’re planted.
Do I belong here? The Magic Eight Ball answers yes, definitely.