What Remains

Running low, but not dry yet....
Running low, but not dry yet….

As I was running one morning, this drainage area caught my eye.  At the time, I didn’t know why, but I stopped to snap a quick photo.  For nearly a week, this photo came to mind as my thoughts gathered regarding its significance.  Then, it finally occurred to me…

During heavy rains, this culvert fills with rushing water.  Ducks come to check out the new vacation spot and weeds flourish as the abundant moisture soaks their roots.  As sunny days pass by, the water level depletes until all that’s left are eroded indentions cradling the last evidence that a river temporarily existed.  Eventually, only hardened dirt remains, supporting the most stubborn weeds.  This “barely existence” goes on until the next rain, when the process begins again.

I realized I was drawn to this photo because it is a naturally occurring representation simulating life itself.  Specifically, how I’ve felt for a while now:  drained, like I have just enough energy to exist, and no nourishment for parts of my life that used to thrive.  I’m putting more effort into to finding “rain”- seeking out things that provide sustenance to counterbalance the demands being made of me.  This means devoting time daily to prayer and reading, embracing laughter, and taking in the beauty of nature around me.

More sleep needs to also be part of this. I’m working on that.  Baby steps….

Do you ever feel like this?  What is it that makes you feel alive?


If I normally visit your blog and I haven’t, or if you have subscribed to my blog in the last three weeks  – please know that I will visit your blog eventually 🙂  I have over 200 unread emails that speak to my recent neglect, but other demands have cut into my blog activity.  I am crossing my fingers that I will have an hour each night to begin catching up… before I’m completely lost in the monster that is my email!

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and patience.  I feel stronger each day.


61 thoughts on “What Remains

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge March 18, 2015 / 6:29 AM

    Sleep, sun, sky, walking – the email blog notices can (and are even as we speak) whining for attention, but outdoors soothes faster. We trap ourselves with the “obligations” of blogging.
    Actually the little gully is quite pretty. (But then maybe I’m just like those punctuating plants) Good comparison between land and soul. Unplugging and flowing – searching for a peaceful source. It’s just downstream. really

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:18 PM

      It is easy to get caught up in the, well, getting caught up. I have nearly 300 emails now, but I’m still sticking to my hour of reading for now. Nature does have a soothing way about it, if we can let go of the things in our mind the prevent us from appreciating it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Phil!

      • philosophermouseofthehedge March 22, 2015 / 6:51 AM

        When I dread opening email, something’s not good, but have gotten better at delaying/prioritizing (even if that means stats go down (.Realistically, stats are what? Can steal real life right away from you) ….. if it ever stops raining, other sirens to dance along with….Have a great week of smiles

        • jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 11:10 PM

          My stats aren’t that great so I don’t pay much attention to them. It’s the comments and conversation that I really enjoy. I have fallen behind on reading blogs, but did make some progress this weekend. I got my emails down to 97…. it’s pretty bad when that looks good, haha!

  2. nrhatch March 18, 2015 / 7:03 AM

    Blue skies, palm trees, birds, flowers, water, waves, sunlight make me feel alive and in the present.
    Laughter and sleep are also so important.

    And food ~ I’m glad I get to eat something delicious every day.

    Wonderful analogy ~ we are like reservoirs, emptying and filling during the seasons of life.
    Keep breathing, Janna.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:19 PM

      I’m breathing, Nancy! I didn’t think of food, but a nice treat does lift spirits… especially something of the chocolate variety 🙂

  3. vishalbheeroo March 18, 2015 / 8:27 AM

    There are some sights that remain a bit like our lives.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:20 PM

      Sometimes it does happen that way, Vishal. Glad to ‘see’ you here 🙂

  4. Debbie March 18, 2015 / 10:20 AM

    Take your time, Janna. When you’re going through tall weeds, it can take every ounce of your energy to survive. Your blogging friends and readers will welcome you back when you’re able to return!

    What makes me feel alive? Sunshine, of course, but also rain. Good food, good friends, laughter. Walking, playing with my dog, talking to my son. Interacting with others online and in person. Shopping. Praying. And the list goes on…. Life doesn’t always hand us the things we want, but challenges us to make do with the things we get!

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:22 PM

      I like how you put that Debbie – sometimes we do have to make due.. that’s part of our growth. And your list of things that make you feel alive – great list. It reminds me- I get to meet with my friend in a week. Another thing to look forward to!

  5. suzicate March 18, 2015 / 10:47 AM

    Good analogy.
    At times I’ve felt like there wasn’t enough of me (time or energy) to do all I want to in a day…now, I just prioritize and don’t sweat what doesn’t make the cut.
    Make sure you take care of you in the midst of all that’s going on.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:22 PM

      That’s a smart way to go about things, Suzicate. Inevitably something isn’t going to get done. I need to learn to accept that better.

  6. Tessa March 18, 2015 / 2:00 PM

    Sorry you are still feeling so low for wont of a better word. I am still feeling depressed, but I am working on my new blog so not doing absolutely nothing. Still praying for you to start feeling better.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:25 PM

      I’m actually feeling a bit better… more good days that not. I do appreciate the prayers, Tessa. I’m saying prayers myself, so as not to focus too much on the ‘bad’ what if scenarios. Obsessing over things won’t change them…. but letting go is easier said than done for me!

      • Tessa March 21, 2015 / 6:38 PM

        You are right, letting go is easier said than done. Glad you are getting more good days. 🙂

  7. judithhb March 18, 2015 / 3:36 PM

    We will welcome you back when you are feeling better. Love the photograph – yes some things stay in our minds.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:25 PM

      Thanks for stopping by, Judith. I appreciate it!

  8. Gene Brode, Jr. March 18, 2015 / 7:16 PM

    Janna, sounds like we are in similar waters–or ditches. I’ll be praying for you. I am trying to rekindle my faith this month. I read a quote today that reminded me of a truth–sometimes the things we try to get pleasure from end up backfiring. So I’m taking a fiction vacation. I’m already feeling the positive effects after three days.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:27 PM

      Thanks for the prayers, Gene. I will pray for you as well, for renewed vigor in your faith. I find that moderation is best, but I am not good at keeping the areas of life balanced, so it’s a constant shift and re-shift. Best to you as you work through your fiction vacation and beyond.

  9. dilip March 19, 2015 / 12:06 AM

    Beautiful post reminds us to introspect and understand our inner-self. Your words “This means devoting time daily to prayer and reading, embracing laughter, and taking in the beauty of nature around me” are valuable.
    Thank you.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:28 PM

      Thanks, Dillip. I’m glad you were able to identify with something here today 🙂

  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) March 19, 2015 / 3:08 AM

    I think that what really gives me energy is variation… so to some extent I need those period of drought..as well as the budding and blooming.. the image of winter and darkness vs summer and light is the most natural for me thinking of those periods.. maybe how to fill those periods of drought with things that revive us is the real challenge. Recently my poetry has been that (I often find more inspiration in darkness than in light).. so right now I crave movement, to be outdoor in the light…

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:29 PM

      I can see how variety can be refreshing, especially going through our mood seasons. I also tend to write more in the dark periods, mostly because I retreat inward naturally… when I’m happiest, I’m out doing other things 🙂

  11. Sean March 19, 2015 / 7:45 AM

    That’s an interesting perspective on your picture. I also saw it a little different, I know, big surprise 🙂 I do see the perspective of life in it. I see it full as everyone going with the flow and all seems to be good but as the water recedes fewer and fewer people stay on that same path. Eventually it is just a trickle of people that are on that path and they are cutting their own way through it but still sticking with that particular path. Once it dries up and the water stops flowing, there is still life waiting for the next bit of water to flourish.

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:31 PM

      That is a bit of a different view, Sean, but it still speaks of cycle. Life is quite cyclical… we can count on a rotation of ease and difficulty, joy and sadness. When we are going through tough times, it is helpful to remember that it won’t last forever… even though it seems like it might when we’re right in the middle of it all. Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective.

  12. imab00kworm March 20, 2015 / 2:41 PM

    At first I thought the picture was taken from high up and it looked like a canyon-y place with a huge river running through and around it, so I guess it depends on what scale you want to use (if you’re very small then that makes a lot of water!)
    I’m not that much of a social or going out person so I tend to spend at least one week of the holidays inside and alone (ok my parents are there but it’s not the same as friends and my brothers are such geeks and lazy-bums that they mainly spend their holidays either in their room or in front of a computer/console).
    At the time I don’t mind being alone but its always when I go out and meet some friends that I realise how lonely I’d been before. And I mean actually going outside and meeting friends because it’s not the same as chatting on the internet or with texts…
    I hope you get better, it mustn’t be very fun down there. I’d send you a rope of jokes but knowing me it would probably end up short and fragile and it would break :/

    • jannatwrites March 20, 2015 / 11:39 PM

      You’re funny, Imab00kworm – thanks for the smiles 🙂 I’m actually doing better than I was a few weeks ago, in that there are more good days than not… and now that I recognize more the things I need to do to lift my spirits, I can pay more attention to that. It’s true what you say – we often don’t see our loneliness until we are surrounded by others. It’s funny how that works. I’m from the pre-cell phone generation so texting wasn’t a mode of communication… I wonder if younger generations will find more fulfillment from texting than the older ones.

      • imab00kworm March 21, 2015 / 2:04 AM

        Thank you! Funny is a compliment!
        About the texting thing it’s easier to write than to talk (especially since me and most of my friends are awkward clumsy idiots – and I mean that in a nice way – you can try guessing what a phone conversation would be like) so we text about all sorts of things. I also use facebook messenger to talk to my friends in England especially one of them and we kind of encourage each other’s madness so that “I like mint” turns into a musical with singing alpacas or an action film of capture the flag with many groups of incompetent idiots trying to get the extremely powerful and dangerous essence of mint…
        So I guess it’ a different way of communicating 😉 it’s still better to physically be with people though but at least you can easily keep contact with those who are far away.

        • jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 11:03 PM

          I do think it’s interesting how the reliance on texting is different for me, probably because I’m pretty sure I’m a bit older than you, and my generation didn’t grow up on cell phones (in high school, if the car broke down, I walked to a pay phone to call someone!) It is a good form of communication to supplement face to face or phone visits, though 🙂

        • imab00kworm March 22, 2015 / 11:13 PM

          It is a good thing to complement the rest but we should be careful not to let it replace face to face contact, I know I’m guilty of having done that and it’s easy to do.
          You’re right about being “a bit” older than me… ^^’

        • jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 11:16 PM

          Yeah, I won’t elaborate on how much the “bit” likely is because i feel old enough already!

        • imab00kworm March 22, 2015 / 11:21 PM

          Oh, um ok then I probably shouldn’t tell you if you don’t know then…

        • jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 11:30 PM

          I’m only kidding around… I can handle it. I figured you were probably late teens/early twenties, but it was just a guess 🙂 i have high school friends with kids that age, haha!

        • imab00kworm March 23, 2015 / 6:24 AM

          I’m 18 ^^’ which means I “met” you and the trifecta writing community when I was 15 I think… obviously I would never have given my age away then

        • jannatwrites March 23, 2015 / 6:27 AM

          That blows me away that you were writing like that at such a young age. That is awesome! And to you, i must seem like a dinosaur, as I will be greeting 42 this year 🙂 (you’ll see…it really doesn’t feel that old when to get here! )

        • imab00kworm March 23, 2015 / 11:43 AM

          Thank you! I read a lot (especially then, now I have less time) so I pick up words and things.
          You sound younger! Don’t worry I’m not shocked by your age, I figured I’d probably be the youngest by a bit in this corner of the web anyway (that title now narrowly falls toDragonSpark) 🙂

        • jannatwrites March 26, 2015 / 9:10 PM

          Well I’m glad I sound younger… I sure don’t feel old (most days)

        • imab00kworm March 26, 2015 / 11:52 PM

          You’re younger than my parents so I don’t really consider you “old” don’t worry 😉

        • jannatwrites March 31, 2015 / 7:24 PM

          You’re kind, BW… but I’m old, haha!

        • imab00kworm March 31, 2015 / 10:09 PM

          That “haha” contradicts your statement 😉

  13. GodGirl March 21, 2015 / 1:47 PM

    A powerful and memorable analogy, Janna. I think it’s a familiar pattern for many of us, to varying degrees. The draining and replenishing of our water is cyclical throughput life, with some experiences leaving us more thirsty than ever. Praying that ‘living water’ would continue to refresh you and build you up during this season of great trial.

    • jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 11:07 PM

      Thank you so much for your beautiful thoughts of prayer, GodGirl. There really are cycles in life, but I do think that the relationship with God can lessen the severity of the ‘drought’ periods.

  14. Lance March 22, 2015 / 10:40 AM

    You have been missed.

    I went into a rut and some changes to our family dynamic and have come out on the end a little better. I feel like this a lot. I related to every word.

    • jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 11:12 PM

      Thanks, Lance. I miss writing more regularly, but right now, this about what I can handle. I know you’ve had changes with your daughter going to college. It affects everyone in the house, I would imagine.

  15. agjorgenson March 22, 2015 / 1:38 PM

    That really is a great metaphor for life. Best luck with sleeping, recharging and a new day!

    • jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 11:12 PM

      Thanks, Allen. Sleeping is still my thorn but am trying to make sure I get more of it!

  16. shesgotdimples March 26, 2015 / 6:27 PM

    I feel that way now. Too tired to really exist, too exhausted to do what I love. Guilt ensues and then I berate myself for not having enough to give.

    But if it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it, right? So, I’m doing my best to do what makes me happy. Even if it means quitting my job for one where I’ll work less. You have to find what is best for you. And nothing ever is forever. Just like your description, the water always returns eventually.

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2015 / 9:13 PM

      Sometimes employment demands do require a change so that we can have a life outside of work. Finding that balance between making a living and living can be tricky at times. I wish you the best as you weigh your options, SGD 🙂

      • shesgotdimples March 26, 2015 / 9:14 PM

        Thank you! And the same to you. Just need to be reminded sometimes, that everything does get better as long as you want it to. Hang in there!

        • jannatwrites March 26, 2015 / 9:16 PM

          We will make it through, SGD! Sometimes we question that in the midst of difficult times, but we manage 🙂

        • shesgotdimples March 26, 2015 / 9:18 PM

          Exactly! Everything will always be alright if you believe it.

        • jannatwrites March 26, 2015 / 9:25 PM

          Yep, faith is all we have sometimes…impossible things can happen. So cool when things turn out even better than we had envisioned. I hope that happens in your situation. (and it makes for some good writing, too, haha)

        • shesgotdimples March 26, 2015 / 9:29 PM

          Thank you! I hope the same for you. We are all stronger and more interesting for the difficulties we go through. It makes us better people in the end. That I truly do believe.

        • jannatwrites March 26, 2015 / 9:34 PM

          I think so too. When I look back, every difficulty has changed me in some way and even if I didn’t see it at the time, retrospect reveals that the experience filled some kind of deficiency in me. I’m also finding that experiencing troubled times makes me appreciate the happier times even more thoroughly because I’ve seen the other side. Okay, now I’m just rambling….I’ll stop now 🙂

        • shesgotdimples March 26, 2015 / 9:38 PM

          Haha no, I completely agree. 🙂 I feel the same way! It’s good you can appreciate all the facets of life, including the difficult times.

        • jannatwrites March 26, 2015 / 9:41 PM

          Don’t get me wrong… in the midst of troubles I complain with the best of them 🙂 It isn’t until I’m on the other side where I can get over myself and appreciate the benefit!

  17. Leigh W. Smith March 30, 2015 / 2:27 PM

    Great moment of epiphany here, Janna. I hope you’ll experience the ‘feast’ part of life’s equation very soon, including and especially in the sleep aspect. If I figure out the answer about “what makes me feel alive,” I’ll let you know; I guess, for me, for now, it kind of rotates about like a broken model of the solar system. Coffee sometimes helps me, too; I say that, but I have switched to decaf long ago. I think I still trick my mind into believing it has caffeine. 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 31, 2015 / 7:36 PM

      Sometimes just existing is the closest we come to feeling alive 🙂 Thank goodness life is full of seasons so we know the tough times won’t last forever (even though they seem like they will while in the midst of it all!) Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Leigh!

  18. pattisj April 13, 2015 / 8:01 PM

    The former youth pastor of our church was back in town and gave the message this weekend. He described how life cycles…we pray and seek direction, then we step out and work until depleted, then back to prayer and nourishment–then off we go again. I watched the video today since I couldn’t be there Sunday, so I’m still seeking what God is saying to me through this.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:34 PM

      Life is very much cyclical. It’s funny that you encountered this concept more than once in a short span of time. Seems there must be something God is communicating 🙂

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