Going off island is rather an event at our house. Usually at least one of the girls will ask to go with us, as they want to stop by a store or pick something up that is not available on this clump of Tybee sand. About a week ago, I had a few errands to run and two of my girls asked to go with me, I started to say yes, because I usually don’t mind them joining me. Till they started to call shotgun. So I laughed and said, “not today, going by myself” as I headed to the van. I had no other plans than to go to the bank and then back home, but even the quiet drive across the marsh was what my soul needed. There is just something about late afternoon sun shimmering off the high tide that fills more than the estuaries of the coast. It fills my spirit and washes over my heart. It keeps me quiet and still and in a place to receive.
After the twenty minute drive to the bank and three minute trip inside, my business was taken care of, but I wasn’t ready to go home. I wasn’t in need of shopping for anything and really hate spending money anyways, but I did feel a need to wander about for a little while.
I decided to walk around Goodwill. One of the best things about purging life and getting rid of most every physical thing we owned is that I have become very particular about anything I buy. I ask myself, do I really need this taking up space in my home and life and can I content without it? I walk past racks and racks of stale smelling clothes, used golf clubs, broken furniture and head to the two shelves of books in the back of the store.
Books were the hardest thing for me to get rid of when we had our big a$$ yard sale four years ago. Going through boxes and shelves several times over purging through them, keeping only what stirred my heart. We have repeated this process a dozen times since. Most can be purchased digitally and for true minimalists, that is the answer, but I just still like to touch, feel and smell real books when I read. I utilize the Tybee library quite a bit, but when I can find a used book I want to read for a dollar, I snatch it up and consider it a bargain.
Browsing through the uncategorized titles between novels and cookbooks, I find an author’s name that catches my attention, plucking the thin tattered paperback I tuck it under my arm and continue my scanning. Next I see a Zig Ziglar book of quotes. One of those slick coffee table books filled with high glossy photos paired with words from hundreds of authors, measured out in 365 days of pure inspiration. I leafed through it to that May 18,that day’s date. I had to smile when I saw the author’s last name was McNally. Pulling my cell phone from my pocket, I snapped a picture of the page and replaced the book on the shelf. Not wanting to pay $2 for quotes I can easily find online. I didn’t think much about the quote and decided it was time to leave, I purchased the Annie Dillard “A Writer’s Life” book that had been clutched between my left arm and ribcage.
A week later flicking through the pictures in my phone stopping at the David McNally quote. “A true commitment is a heart-felt promise to yourself from which you will not back down” As I have taken on writing this blog as a commitment for myself this year, I smile again, thinking that it really did have my name on it.
Slowing down from our fast paced busy lives and quieting ourselves for a few minutes we can find clarity in times of confusion.