TILL I AT LENGTH AM FREE

By Lisa Huddleston

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

–“The Chambered Nautilus,” Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

It has been several weeks since I have had the time or inclination to write—more lack of time than inclination—but the outcome is the same.  No writing.  And I feel the urge.  In fact I felt it so strongly last night that I could not sleep.  I think even the dog sensed my unrest as she would not lie down in her cozy bed but preferred to wander around my room and poke me with her wet black nose from time to time to let me know that she felt my pain.  It was a long night as I pondered and strained to link my thoughts together.  It’s New Year after all—how hard could it be to come up with a topic?

My brain toyed and teased the topics of the past.  New Year’s resolutions.  A Word for the Year.   Changes for which I give God praise, and modifications that have still not been made.  Transformation, reconstruction, evolution, restyling and remodeling.  Whew … it was a very long night.  And as my brain ached, a verse began to run through the chaos.  “Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul …”  And the repetition soothed the sore struggle of my brain.  The melody of the words and the crescendo of the thought helped my cramped ideas to expand into a more comfortable space, nobler and more vast, till I at last could sleep.

And so, here we are.  Drinking my second cup of coffee and remembering the struggle which is yet to be resolved.  No New Year’s resolutions.  No Word for the Year.  No lists to check or promises to break.  Just a certainty that I must continue to grow and outgrow my earthly shell as the swift seasons roll and beyond.  Till I at length am free.

May this year bring spiraling growth in incremental inches—one step and one choice at a time—until we break the confines of the past and have our feet set in a very spacious place indeed.  Happy New Year!

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