Labor Day


I don’t feel much like getting up from this bed. My legs are stretched out in front of me and crossed at the ankles, left over right, giving me a good view of my newly pedicured toes. I broke one of them a few years ago – stubbed it on my couch, the one I bought brand new – and it still juts high above the other four, like an adobe hill out of the desert, the kind that gutsy kids use as a bike ramp.

It’s been years since I’ve ridden a bike, even though the Trek I got for my 14th birthday is currently crammed into the mudroom of my house, the front wheel turned perpendicular to the rest of the frame, blocking the doorway. I step over it whenever I go into the backyard, which is infrequent now that Toad is gone. I keep thinking I should put air in these tires. I should ride to work. Or I could try to sell it. Homeowners can always use extra cash.

It stresses me out, money. It always has. When I was a kid, I would pull the dollar bills out of my piggy bank and count them, splaying them across my bedspread, the ones together, the fives. Then I would walk across the hallway to the laundry room, set up the ironing board, and turn the iron to low. The literal smoothening of my money somehow translated, and when the stack of bills was crisp and orderly, so was my spirit – at least, so I thought.

Last night in a church pew, I wrote my September budget on a Post-It note. I had not been to church in – months? It must be. And already, the rhythm of the service felt unfamiliar. Do we really stand for this long? Funny, I went to church nearly every Sunday for 30 years, but take me out for just a few months and all of a sudden attending feels new.

I like it when things feel new and fresh. I also like it when things feel familiar and routine. This desire for both roots and wings is a tug-of-war, and I’m right in the middle of it, and I don’t know if I’ll be pulled to one side or the other or just torn in half.

They – three different friends now – say that they think I’m “on the verge.” Of what, they don’t really know, and it would be silly to speculate. But I feel it, too – the sense that something is almost. I wonder if it will feel like roots or like wings.

So I pray. I think that prayer is important – not so much because I think God will do what I ask, but because it reminds me that I’m not him. Not so much because God is a shelter from the storm, but because I hope he’ll stand out in the rain with me. Not so much because it leads to the absence of pain, but to the presence of love.



  1. Emily on September 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I hope you’re on the verge of something major…I’d like to be there, too, and if it happened to you, it would give me a little bit of much-needed hope. :)

  2. Charlie on September 2, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    This is real and beautiful. Thanks, Annie.

  3. Beth on September 2, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Annie, thank you for articulating so well that very sometimes confusing ache for both roots and wings- I feel it quite often, myself. I often wonder if it’s part of the single life or just part of my individual process or a lack of contentment. But I definitely resonate with that duality and thank you for voicing it as well- makes one feel a little more “normal” in that fight. Always love reading your blog- your journey is inspiring :)

  4. Allison on September 2, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    perfect. love this. you’re so good at saying what everyone feels without sounding emo and insane. you know, like we all are.

  5. Jacque Ormsbee on September 2, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    what Allison said. – you are good at saying what we all feel. Love your posts.

  6. Katherine M on September 2, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    I so needed this. Thank you for your words, Annie.
    ps “Gutsy” is one of my favorite adjectives.

  7. Janelle from Canada on September 2, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    You always give me hope, Annie. Thank you for that glowing ember tonight :)

  8. Holly on September 2, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Geez, I wonder if ironing my dollar bills would make my life feel more crisp and organized. Maybe I will start with my clothes.

  9. The Zadge on September 2, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Lovely post…and I must use the shouting font for this: I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU TOMORROW NIGHT!

  10. Heidi on September 2, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Love it, Annie – the hopeful anticipation of what is to come.

  11. Michael on September 2, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Hopeful…it’s a good word. The Trek is worth something, I imagine. Good brand. Don’t know if it is suited for your area, but I would be hard-pressed to let it go, if it were mine. Of course I have a bike that I said I was going to ride everyday this summer…how’s that working out, Michael? Here’s hoping for clarity and Presence in your life. God loves you and we do, too…it is not just a saying, not in this case.

  12. Pat Cassidy on September 2, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    I love your blogs Annie. This was all so well spoken–thanks–you blessed me!

  13. Peg Achterman on September 3, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    OK – wow, that last paragraph – just wow. I think I will be posting that (with attribution of course – to FB. Nice work Ms. Parsons. And just remember – on the verge – it’s still on the same journey. The fun is finding out if you get to scream down a hill or sing on your way to a peak, huh?

  14. Lan | morestomach on September 3, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    this post reminded me of this:

    My heart wants roots
    My mind wants wings
    I cannot bear
    Their bickering.
    ~ E.Y. Harburg

  15. Travis on September 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Roots and Wings sounds like a song you should write.

    This post resonates with me. The stir of the almost is in my life right now too. It’s hard to say what exactly or where, but it’s there all the same slowly making itself known. Here’s to patience, bikes with flat tires, and a prayerful heart.

  16. Haley on September 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    This was good to read, Annie! Thank you.

  17. Mandy Q on September 8, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    Lovely :) …

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