The speed limit in Utica is 20 MPH. When the roads are snow packed and the train cuts through the middle of town and the Chevy pickups parked in front of the broken down bowling alley (advertising an "owling leg" beginning in "a gust"), when those trucks extend their long ends into the road, that's when you drive 12 MPH.
So I drop Nora off at school and prepare to make the trip up to my office on campus, go to a meeting, grade my essay quota for the day (11 per day for 7 days), make some copies, and already my mind is running through stop signs and ducking under railroad crossings and from nowhere the road goes foggy and I realize I'm crying.
I'll blame it on Valentine's day (though I am so conscious of the love around me). I'll blame it on stress (despite the deep peace that continues to grow in me daily). Shoot. I'm just going to blame it on some dust that flew into my eye when I turned on the heater. That's the ticket.
But they keep falling, and I'm starting to worry about my make-up and whether or not I would be able to pass a driving test right now because there's nothing more dangerous than emotional driving. Well, except for emotional driving with a rabid raccoon in the cab with you. That would probably top the list.
I think Pastor Jurchen explained it like this to me once. Every once in awhile, God is going to test the hot water heater by turning up the heat a little and seeing how much pressure it can withstand. I guess this is why tears are warm, why glasses turn foggy, and a large amount of emotive sighing ensues.
That's the trick of busy-ness. You don't notice when the heat is going up until you're crying for "no reason." I've learned enough about sadness to know you have to just let it pass through you. You acknowledge it: "Hello, darkness, my old friend." You make some tea. You sit and chat. "Boy, you are sad." "Yeah, I know. Thanks for mentioning it." "But, really, you feel TERRIBLE." "Um, exactly. You said that. Would you like some cheeze whiz and crackers? I'm thinking of watching reruns of Cheers while I wait for you to leave." "Oh, yeah, I love cheeze whiz." And suddenly the two of you are singing along to the theme song, and at the end of a few episodes, Sadness gets up, stretches and says, "Well, I should be going. Getting pretty late." And there it goes, blue tail lights glowing in the distance.
Feeling sad isn't a sin. Crying isn't a sin. I've learned to stop punishing myself for thinking that I'm messing up by not feeling happy all the time. Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I can't see the gifts surrounding me. Sometimes I get lonely for a companion. Sometimes I mourn my past. And sometimes there's a piece of dust swimming around out there, and I just happen to lean into it with my eyeball.