My imagination is a runaway train. I’ve said this before, in journals from high school and middle school, even all the way back to my new pink penned, third grade scrawl. An idea floats across my mind, and I begin to toss it back and forth, watching as it blossoms and takes shape. I daydream. I make pictures in my heart of possibilities.
I’ve already told you this, I think as I find myself reaching for the keyboard after a long day. I curl into my sheets, glancing over at the pictures of my grandparents on the nightstand, at the pile of clothes in a heap from Sunday morning frenzy, at the cold cup of tea left over from last night.
I keep writing about it, because the lesson tonight feels like a cold shower. Your imagination ran away with you. The words don’t come from a mentor tonight, or a friend, or even the many books I have that warn us about letting loose our minds after the love of outward things (John Woolman is first among them). The brakes on a car screech at the intersection just outside our house. My heart thuds in my chest and I put my hand over it, a small gesture of calm. I close my eyes, feel the stale bedroom air fill my lungs and shake my head.
Sometimes slowing down hurts. I don’t want to be reminded that my imagination can spin out of control, or that sometimes, the pictures and the possibilities have to be loved, and put away. But tonight I’m reminded that I must slow down.
The steady thump of my heart is loud in my ears against the quiet night. Why is this lesson so hard for me, I wonder. Why is it so hard to go slow, ask only the questions that are right in front of me? Why is it so hard to believe that I’ll know what to do when it’s time to do it?
It slows down, I whisper. It’s about slowing down. It’s about gentleness. It’s about trust.
Tonight, though? Tonight, I keep my hand on my heart, close my eyes and burrow further in the blankets. I’ll slow down, I try to promise myself. I’ll stop the runaway train.
I fall asleep, the promise muffled in the sheets. Maybe tomorrow I’ll begin.