…I’m sorry, and a little dissatisfied as well. Miss Stacy told me long ago that by the time I was twenty my character would be formed, for good or evil. I don’t feel that it’s what it should be. It’s full of flaws.’
‘So’s everybody’s,’ said Aunt Jamesina cheerfully. ‘Mine’s cracked in a hundred places.
Your Miss Stacy likely meant that when you are twenty your character would have got its permanent bent in one direction or ‘tother, and would go on developing in that line.”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island
We wake up in the morning to a world that has changed since we went to sleep last night, which means there is a short little process of reorientation that we go through every single day. Those are little reorientations.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how to start off right. For the past month and a half I’ve been working a desk job with stable hours (what are stable hours even???), which means my Monday to Friday routine is pretty standard: wake up 8:40, go to work at 9:15AM, get into the office sometime between 9:30-9:40, get off work at 4:30, eat, sleep, repeat.
I often think about my character developing in such a permanent slant, and so I regularly ask myself questions, “Jasmine what kind of person do you want to become? What kinds of habits would you like to have, to get there? What kind of lifestyle do you think is good and fruitful? What does beauty mean to you?”
Every day of my life, it seems, is an attempt to answer these questions.
Lately, having to wake up at the same time every day (incredibly disoriented and sleepy), I often wish to be able to wake up feeling fully rested.
Having to rush off to work and buy myself breakfast on the way, makes me want to have tea and breakfast at home before leaving.
I often consider how much more purpose my day might have, if I spent a little bit of time journalling, meditating or praying in the morning, so that my morning “reorienting” to events of the day would be guided by things bigger than my immediate thoughts and concerns.
I remember one day when hiking up the Alishan mountain in Taiwan to see the sunset after a big rainstorm, I received a text from my mother telling me about the Malaysia Airlines plane being shot down over Ukraine.
I remember the fear and grief that gripped my heart in that moment, so far away I was in that moment from things familiar and comfortable.
I remember the full glory of the scenery from the top of that mountain, and my little brain’s attempts to reconcile that glory to senseless death and sorrow.
I often think there is no other way to reconcile these other than coming into the presence of something greater than both. These are the big reorientations.
Circumstances, events and moments that are so large that they throw your entire understanding of life out of balance.
In these ones, there are incidents that erupt into huge character growth, or build like a travelling wave into a decisive moment where everything you knew gets wiped out instantly.
Our world is so big and so little at the same time, always.
I would like to be like that too – immensely big, with an endless capacity to embrace the world despite its brokenness, despite its ugliness, but also humbly aware of the very little body that I inhabit on this earth and its very physical, practical limitations.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on the way my character is developing, trying to trace that line’s permanent bent, and its implications.
I hope I point, to hope, beauty, faith, and the quiet goodness that is the way of eternity, regardless of what kind of work hours I hold, or what kind of season of life I happen to be in.
Shorts – from H&M, hands down the best purchase of shorts I have made ever at H&M.
Crop Top – from Garage.