I'm listening to the Coldplay song "High Speed," and the line "We're living life inside a bubble" is running over and over in my head, and it seems like a good title for a blog post today. I'm sitting here, inside, on the 27th floor, looking outside at the deceptively blue sky - it makes me wish it were 65 degrees outside instead of 35 degrees. Sitting next to me, on my desk, is a glass half-full of water which is nourishing three flourishing daffodils. On Wednesday, I walked into work, only to be greeted by one of the building's managers on my way to the elevator. He was carrying a bowl of daffodils with closed buds, and offered me three of them. I put them in water as soon as I was upstairs, and watched them begin to unfold as the morning went along. By today, they are giant, yellow, star-shaped blossoms that remind me of springtime, which is feeling so slow to arrive these days.
Yesterday, I took the day off and spent it with my sister. We went out for lunch to a fabulous brunch cafe right down the street from my apartment - we've lived in the same place in the city for nearly three years, and it wasn't until yesterday that I even knew Tweet existed. I'm sorry not to have found it sooner! We ate a pile of freshly-made tortilla chips and guacamole, and then indulged in huge sandwiches, mounds of fries, and some of the best fruit we've ever eaten - orange slices, huge red grapes, and fresh raspberries and blackberries.
We spent the rest of the afternoon napping, playing MarioKart, eating homemade cookies (I baked them on Wednesday night), and watching Emme run around the apartment in that crazy-cat sort of way.
For dinner, we helped Matt celebrate finishing a big project (and helped me celebrate more good news and progress on the first call front) by going out for Vietnamese food. We live in Uptown, just a couple blocks' walk from a wonderful little Asian-town. Matt and I tried Pho 888 a week ago, and this week decided to try out Tank Noodle. The three of us enjoyed a warm and satisfying meal, and I am thrilled to think about the leftover Pho that is awaiting me for dinner tonight.
All of yesterday's eating and relaxing - a truly wonderful "mental health day" for me - reminds me all the more today of how this office sometimes feels like a bubble. Here we are, floating 27 floors above Chicago, with huge windows everywhere that simultaneously connect us with and separate us from the outside world. The office is always quiet, no matter how filled it is with people, and all of us in our little cubicles easily retreat into our own personal bubbles when we don't want to expend energy on being social.
And yet I love this bubble. Right now, my life is its own bubble, of sorts. I'm padded in by things that have become comfortable and habitual: my morning commute, my job itself, our cramped apartment, the walk along Michican Avenue to stop at Trader Joe's on the way home from work, our drive to the suburbs to attend church with my parents on Sundays, the way that our kitchen cabinets and drawers are cramped and yet I know where everything is, my Monday night choir rehearsals, my favorite coffee shops and restaurants and shortcuts around the city.
In the next six weeks or so, all of this changes. Unless something goes terribly wrong, I will be accepting a first call, and beginning again in a new congregation that will be both my new job and my new church home. Matt will be graduating law school. We will be moving out of the city to the suburbs. After spending nearly six years now in preparation for my vocation, I will actually be doing it. There will be goodbyes and hellos, new habits and different habits, another chance to "start over" and see what I will do the same and what I will change as we settle down again somewhere new.
If I am living life inside a bubble, that bubble is about to pop, and I will begin the process of constructing a new one. Life, which has seemed almost painfully slow over the last few months, now truly has kicked into high speed, and the best I can do right now is live day by day, appreciating the wide array of emotions and expectations and experiences that come my way, no matter how fragmented they seem to be.