5.08.2017

When wind fans the flames in your head.

I don't know if this is the case for anyone else, but there are days when it feels like my head is on fire. It is bursting with so many things.

Ideas.

Things almost forgotten that I'm trying to desperately to remember.

Things I've freshly forgotten that have left just enough of a wake that I know they were there a moment ago.

Things that are hidden but are throwing out peripheral information to hint at what they are without actually revealing themselves.

To do lists.

The long and winding tail of philosophical crises that have stretched for years, unanswered, thoroughly chewed on, not going anywhere.

Information pollution, such as advertisements or social media drama.

Desperate prayers.

Replaying incidents and moments annoyed that I came up with the perfect response an hour after the fact.

And so on.

So all of that is in there, buzzing around like gnats trapped in white noise. My friends have had the patience, on occasion, to wait for me to finish frantic scribbling in the notebook I carry with me before we can get on with our social day out. My phone is filled with random audio recordings that I made while driving that, at the time I recorded them, probably made sense but since there seems to be a problem with the translator between my head and my mouth, the jerking mutterings that are recorded don't at all resemble the elegant thought I tried to capture. The notebook and the recording are the way I try to free up space and lessen the fire in my head.

Some days, just driving to and from work is frenetic.

If you were to ask me which of the things in my head bother me the most, I would say it is the years-long philosophical debates that have bounced around in my head to no resolution. There are some troubling ones in there, deep spiritual questions that have no answer (yet).

"Just talk to someone, Julie!" says Happy Joe Simpleton.

Imagine you've been hiking for years. You've traveled through forest and across plateau, journeying a long way from the place you started. Most of the time you're alone in your hike, but on occasion you come across people at various way stops. You connect with them at the time and place, but they do not understand the ground you've covered, nor do they understand the context of the hike that stems from the place you started.

For me to talk to someone about this hike I've been on for decades, I have to start at the beginning. I have to tell them about the place I started, how the hike became necessary, and then I have to tell them about every crook and bend and backtrack and mountain that I've encountered on the hike.

That's a heck of a lot of backstory, and I don't trust my mouth to get it right.

The beauty of having someone close to you for great swaths of your life is that they at least understand great swaths of the hike. You only have to say a few words and they know. They might not have been there at the very start, but at least they were there for a while.

But here's the beauty of God: He knows. He knows it all, from start to finish. I don't even know the finish. He made the hike, he directed the pathway.

Lest you think I'm copping out with a Sunday School answer, remember that I'm telling you the actual walk isn't easy and that there is genuine solace in another physical person who travels with you and that sometimes, during the hike, you want some audible answers to important questions and all you hear is the wind bouncing overhead in the trees and at the time you think that's super frustrating but you forget about time.

Time (another one of those things that twist about in my head as I try to understand it) stretches out answers, like a tape recording slowed down and made unintelligible. Once I'm past a time, or someday, when I am no longer trapped in it, I can speed up, fast forward, and rewind. There was the answer all along, drawling along in the wind of the hike, not decipherable until later.

But for now, it's wind and there are days when it seems to fan the fire in my head.

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