The Mayor of Nowhere

I live foggy and numb a lot lately. A few years ago, my counselor told me that my body was doing important work.

I live foggy and numb a lot lately. A few years ago, my counselor told me that my body was doing important work. “Bodies are smart. They have a shut-down mechanism so that you don’t feel everything that you experience. If you did, some days would be too much.” So I live foggy, a lot. Thanks body. The good news is that I don’t have extreme lows. The downside is that the pendulum doesn’t swing very far the other way either. I live in the middle. A hammock instead of a tilt-a-whirl. I used to get so excited, like a kid, when I was doing something new. Christmas morning, going to Six Flags, riding a motorcycle or in a convertible, a dinner party, a Giants’ game- they all surged my emotions. Now, I tell myself, “Self, you would normally get excited about this, so be present to this moment. It really is spectacular.”

However, there is an exception.

Art.

Art gets me. It grabs me and reads me and understands me. It tells my story and feels my feelings. It communicates what I don’t quite have the words for. It doesn’t have to alleviate my pain, it expresses it for me. Art holds the key to my unlocked emotions and when I give it its required space, it gladly opens the door. It’s not just me- it’s you too. But art has an enemy. Its arch nemesis is hurry. Art is a foreign language which requires that I spend time with it to understand it. It is not my native tongue, so I must work with it, study it, hone my understanding of it. To skim a fiction book or worse, to keep my cell phone distraction next to me while I read, to walk flippantly through a museum, to fast-forward a movie, to text during a play is to blaspheme art. Art is a jealous friend that requires full attention. My friends have become accustomed to my distracted focus, but art isn’t as gracious. For art to breathe, for it to inhale and exhale blood and life, it must have undivided attention. For art to incite my imagination and stimulate my rusty feelings, I have to yield my pace. Hurry, multi-tasking, working hard and getting things done quickly has its place, just not with art. The true artist has the ability to highlight what I wouldn’t normally see and tell me why it’s important. I don’t see that if I’m in a rush. My receptors are inhibited by hurry.

My culture is an art killer. But Tiffanni, she is my artist nurturer. I can’t brush her teeth too quickly or she’ll get cavities. I can’t feed her too quickly or she’ll choke. I can’t walk fast or she’ll trip. I can’t talk too fast or she gets lost. I can’t do her makeup too quickly or she’ll look like a clown. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way. She forces me to slow down. She causes me to rethink my schedule and adjust my day to remove the events that don’t matter so that I have enough time for the things that do. Some days I sit in between bites and think, “I’m here doing nothing in nowhere.”

As she encourages my art appreciation through her tempered pace, she loses hers. She can’t read anymore. Can’t understand music. Can’t keep up with movies. Can’t stay still for the theater. So, sometimes we do nothing and sit Nowhere. We eat blizzards and sit quietly. We ride in the car, quietly. We sit on the back porch, quietly- and she makes space for me to visit Nowhere.

Hurry escorts me to places that are detrimental to my soul, my family, and my relationships. To un-hurry is to go Nowhere. And it is Nowhere that art makes its home. Art, the antidote to my foggy life. And there in Nowhere Tiffanni is the uncontested mayor. Others campaign for the attention of hurry, workaholism, multi-tasking, and noise. Not Tiff- she is content to lead her quaint little city. When I visit, my world slows and my busy-satiated mind calms. My attention is drawn to the beauty that escapes the rushed. The mayor helps dissipate the fog. And you wouldn’t want anyone else running this city, trust me.

50 Comments for “The Mayor of Nowhere”

Naomi

says:

I think you just described me in my everyday. Sometimes I feel alone in this but I’m glad I’m not.

J. Mark Frey

says:

You just took me deeper – pulled back the curtain and shined light down where I can almost see the path that you are walking. Thank you for your compassion and eagerness to understand.

Praying for you guys now. . .

Laura Bair

says:

Amazing work Jeremy. Thank you for allowing us to see and feel your word through your writing.

Elton Brooke

says:

Our world is too loud and busy. Loved the reminder to visit Nowhere more often. Thank you, Jeremy. Praying for you and Tiffany.

Susan Kennedy

says:

Beautifully written. I’ve heard of the ministry of the sick. Tiff is definitely ministering to us all, as are you.

says:

I was a caregiver for my husband, who had dementia. As hard as my journey was, it was nothing compared to yours. You are an awesome, man of God, husband, father, son, pastor and friend. God bless you on this journey that you did not sign up for, but are managing with resilience, Grace, fortitude, love and understanding. Sending many prayers your way

Amanda Shinault

says:

My friend… you helped guide me on my spiritual path with God. (Not that it’s complete) I looked at you and your beautiful family and knew my happiness was coming. You helped me learn patients, to wait for my happiness to find me. Not one time while I was learning from you did I ever stop to think, he’s human… life has given him a rough hand too, but it has and you handle it with amazing strength. You continue to teach me with every blog, appriciate my many many blessings.I am praying for you and your beautiful family.

Lynn Defourneaux

says:

Jeremy, Thank you for sharing your heart. It is a profound thing to be reminded of how precious true love really is. Bless you both.

Mong A Tong Tong

says:

Thank you Mayor for taking some of your time in nowhere to write what you feel. You are an artist worth slowing down to appreciate.

cindy Herschberg

says:

Wow, you are an incredible writer , it is amazing how you tell You
and Tiffanys story and the details that are oftened missed in the hurried pace of life the way you articulate them is incredible. i have bee ministered to while following your blog which is somthing i did not expect. My husband and I have been going through our own journey of health struggles thank you for sharing your story it has helped me understand my husbands side of things as he takes care of me in so many ways. I am praying for you both . You both have meant so much to us over the years Robbie and I . God Bless

terry

says:

This is beautiful!! Thank you for letting us in to yours and Tiff’s journey… It’s heartbreaking and at the same time God uses it for SO much good… I love y’all so much!!

says:

What a gift to recognize it as a gift to slow down.

Life slows down with Brian too. I have to focus on what I am saying, read his expression for comprehension, wait. Sometimes that feels like loss – he was so quick witted! He once was so sharp! – and sometimes it feels like I am an interpreter, but, so far, it has not felt like a gift of time. What a great perspective.

Cynthia LeBlanc

says:

So transparent! I care for my parents, both with dementia, so can relate to the numbness and the moments of sudden beauty. I’m subscribing, and praying for you.

Debbie Gillihan

says:

Love Tiff and you all. Prayers 🙏🏽 God has blessed you with such strength . He is so faithful to carry us thru in the hard times.

Lois

says:

Breaking busy is difficult sometimes. Breaking busy for love is definitely an art that God is allowing you to master. Prayers for you precious Man of God

says:

I read this twice last night. Just in awe of the picture you paint through your art. Thanks for being so vulnerable and allowing us to get just a glimpse of your journey. So much love for you and Tiff. Praying for you all often. I look forward to the next post.

Gayle rudd

says:

We love you and pray daily for Gods will in your lives and continued strength for each days challenges

Sharon Willeford

says:

I love every moment of your tender heart felt impressions and the love you have for each other. Prayers for you daily one moment at a time to continue the race together. Love you

says:

And you auditioned for the Amazing Race. Irony is a form of art in and of itself. Thanks again for sharing. I feel the same way about art. I can’t talk over music, during a film, or in a gallery. Can’t do it. I’ll miss something subtlety beautiful and unique otherwise. Sounds like there is so much to behold in the art of Nowhere.

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