Woke this morning already feeling overwhelmed. I hadn't ground coffee last night. The dishwasher was full. The pan on the table needed washing again, I missed some grease in it last night. I had stayed up late and was tired, cold, out of sorts. I ground the coffee and opened the dishwasher. "I'll get it done," I told myself, but as I put dishes away I saw that the garbage needed to go out, the sink wasn't clean, the floor needed sweeping, and there was recycling to go to the basement. "I'll never finish," I thought.
This is my most dangerous thinking and it moves from easy kitchen stuff to more important matters. As I put dishes away and let coffee brew, I remembered a dream from last night, I needed to swim home with someone in my charge. We dove in and set out. It was like I had an outboard motor on my hip we moved so fast, yet I saw that we were so far from home and I wasn't sure of the way among the islands. My charge trusted in me. "We'll get there," he said. But I was scared. Still we swam and made it to a boathouse with a bed inside instead of a boat. My wife was in the bed, waiting. The alarm went off and pulled me away.
I was too tired to get up then. I drifted into a repeat dream from long ago in which I'm helping a political candidate talk with kids about kayaks. A kid is bored and my guy is slipping in the polls. I said to the kid, "we should flood this room and let you try the kayak!" It's the wrong thing to say. I was supposed to let my guy keep talking. He laughs off my idea, but the kid and his dad know that we should have had this event at a lake instead of in an office off of the school cafeteria. The candidate knows it's all my fault. I'm about to be fired. Worse, I'm about to be told what a failure I am. But another candidate who has put a kid in a kayak across two cafeteria chairs has just had the thing break in two. I'm not the worst failure and am forgotten as that other guy's candidacy dies.
I came awake and went to the kitchen worrying about failure. But in twenty minutes I've written nearly eight hundred semi-cohesive words worthy of editing into a blog post. I am savoring the coffee. I am clearing the cobwebs of those dreams. I've emptied the dishwasher and cleaned the pan. I'll take the garbage out. I'll get things done and though I'll never finish, it's okay. The goal isn't to finish, it's to keep going. Tomorrow, I will do it again: get up up early, do my chores, and write a couple thousand words which is the work I love.
I'll probably still worry that I don't know the way, that I'll do something wrong, that there will be too much to do. Hopefully, as I did this morning, I'll get myself to believe. In what, I'm not sure. Maybe in myself. Or maybe just that I can, should, and will write on.