• Elizabeth Bartasius

Rising: On living with fear, boredom & waiting

I’ve spent so much of life worrying that I didn’t take enough actions, or that I was slow to act. Even now, I sometimes worry that I should be doing things better, more often, and with the ‘right’ people. Sometimes these worries make me afraid. So afraid that often I stall, stop, run away, or simply take too long to act.

I justify these maneuvers, of course, with legitimate excuses, plausible reasoning, and sophisticated arguments. But in all, I can see that, as an astute friend once observed, I spend a lot of time in consideration. I also married a man who spends a lot of time, even more so than me, in consideration. Whatever our reasons or possible fears, we take our sweet-ass time.

So this year we each picked out the one word that would propel us through 2016 with all of our collected, cultivated past wisdom.

His word for the year? Do!

My word? Rising.

Not even rise, just rising,

'Just rising', which, nine months into my year, I have noticed sounds a lot like being in consideration.

Being not yet where I want to be.

Being stalled until I actually get around to the rise.

For instance, I have so many ideas I could write about, thoughts in my head that I can't seem to get them all out. Nor do I have the time right now, because I’m a boiling egg, not yet ready to be consumed.

So I have systematically blocked those ideas from coming out, I’ve told myself.

until the work is done,

the book has been written,

or the blog post published.

I have found myself waiting for so many things this year.

I’ve been sick, waiting for surgery, so I can feel better.

I’ve been waiting for vacations to be over, to I can get back to writing.

I’ve been waiting for the vacation to start so I can stop writing.

I’ve been waiting for Ben to get off work.

For the payday at the end of the month.

For the next Write Club meeting.

For the phone to ring.

For the email to come in.

I see as I write these words to you that my interpretation of the word “Rising” comes out of the context of “not yet risen.”

Meaning that while I have been waiting for vacation-surgery-work-calls-emails, I have also been waiting, waiting, waiting to have risen.

Many times this year, my experience of rising has been tedious, monotonous, uneventful living.

Nothing much happening; not much coming forth.

Only the daily routines of feeding cats,

brushing teeth,

sitting down to work,

picking out the day’s power outfit,

making the bed,

double-checking the lights are off when I leave the house

writing out the grocery list,

dropping the car off at the mechanics,


going to the grocery store,

doing the dishes,

returning phone calls,

balancing the accounts.

Where oh where is the big bang?

I’m waiting for the rush after an ice cream.

The thrill of a roller coaster.

The addiction of first love.

A publisher to want me.

But still, I wait, wondering, wanting to rise.

Wanting to break free of the hum drum and live in the dramatic surf.

But the writing life is not a nightly Oscar party.

Neither is everyday life.

At least not 90 percent of the time.

And so I’ve waited…

Not realizing that the 10% ecstasy only comes from the 90% drill work.

Even so, when I really think about it, who wants to spend 90% of the time vomiting the upside downs gyro twists of roller coasters, first loves, too much dairy, and a celebratory all-nighter? I don’t.

But I do want action.

On the back of two passing woman passing from this earth just days ago, I know more than ever, I do want to live.

Which brings me back to rising.

Surely, you have seen even before I, that the word “rising” is an action.

A delicious, gratuitous action.

I am rising, implies not stillness or consideration, but movement.

I am in motion.

I am on the go.

Because at the end of a rise, the deed is done; there is no risen.

There is only rising.

I take comfort, and I hope you do too, that our everyday menial chores, looks, exchanges, and trivial matters are each of us Rising!

Every word I write, no matter how good or bad, is me rising.

Every meal I cook is me rising.

Every friend I comfort is me rising.

Every cry is me rising.

Every time I mess up and get knocked down is me rising.

You have your own risings, but you, oh dazzling one, are indeed rising.

We rise and rise and rise, until we rise no more.

And in our last moment of reflection, the splendor, I’m quite certain, is found in the rising.

No matter how boring the craft seems.

No matter how sick I might feel.

No matter how impatient I am to get to the next station.

I am gloriously rising.

You are gloriously rising.

Let us make sure to taste the universal rising, no matter how difficult, sad, bland, or stuck in consideration.

Let’s lust for our own unique, individual rising.

Let’s, pretty please, adore each other’s rising.

I will do my best.

For when we rise no more, I bet we’ll miss it.