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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is My Life Enough?

I have recently gotten over first a bout of bronchitis and most recently pneumonia.  I felt awful.  They type of awful where what you really want to do is ask God just to end it all. 

I was in pretty bad shape for almost two weeks and while I was still recovering two weeks later, I found myself depressed and at the 7/11 buying lotto tickets.  It was as if I went to bed on one night feeling pretty good about myself and woke up the next morning feeling like an utter failure and the only thing that could rescue me was to win millions.  Physically I was back to my normal routine, but I still felt totally out of sync. On this particular morning I had to co-op at my daughter's school and had to be there early.  From the moment the alarm rang my boys just couldn't get their act together.  It was one of those "let's not listen to mommy" days.  After some screaming and throwing things, my boys finally got around to seeing things my way, but I was already late. On the drive in to the school,  Noelle was talking a mile a minute, to the point where I begged her to Puhleeze be silent for a few minutes.  "Sure Mommy" she replied cheerfully.  She actually gave me a good 45 seconds before she started talking again and I just burst into silent tears.

Nothing seemed to be going right. You know how it is when you are lacking sleep and not eating right - at some point your defenses get so low physically and emotionally that even the normal hiccups become monumental.   My being late just took me over the edge, but the real issue was the fact that I did not finish nanowrimo, the writing a novel in a month campaign.  I had started strong, but getting sick took all the "write" out of me and I just couldn't finish.  Also this is the best time of year for my business and I have literally done nothing to capitalize on it at all. To say the least I was down in the dumps.
I hung on to my mood for about three days.  On my last day of misery, I was folding clothes on my bed when the thought hit me that I could actually die without having achieved any of the things I wanted. I know - it's a morbid thought - but a very realistic one that I am sure many women share.   So as I sat sorting socks, I pondered Frank Capra style what would happen if I never actually fulfilled my dreams.  I would eventually shut down my business, never finish a novel, never find a way to help other women, and live the rest of my life in a mediocre apartment.  It was then that a question popped out of nowhere.

"When it's all over, would you be satisfied knowing you were a good person and lived a good life?"

I stopped mid-fold.  My thoughts turned from my perceived failures to all that I had.  I have great friends who sent me Thanksgiving in a box, and a wonderful family, including a sister I spend way too much time talking to on the telephone.  Although things can be tight financially - we don't lack anything.  I am not crazy about my apartment and want to live in a single family home once again, but I am still surrounded with things I love and that inspire me. I have my babies and my husband, the most important aspects of my life.  We are a happy, healthy and loving family and I do everything that I can to be the best person I can be. My daily goal is to live from the perspective that Jesus illustrated when he said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

So after I thought about those things the question came again, slightly different. "Is it enough?  Is your life enough?"

 "Of course it is." I answered immediately having to look no further than my life with my husband, who truly loves me just as I am and always makes space for me to be and grow.  And then, I have these kids. My love and connection to them is so great that sometimes it as though their hearts still beat inside me.
It that enough?  Yes.

And no.  There is a place in me, a potential in me that I have not fulfilled.  I think with every project, every new idea that I get excited about, every assignment I take on is simply my attempt to find the inspiration that will cause that potential to erupt, and flow out as it should.  I do not know what that is going to take.  What I realize is that I cannot hold on relentlessly to what I think my success should look like.  It is the pressures and expectations I put on myself that cause the disappointment.  My husband wrote me a letter on my teary day, where he gave me some great advice that I three days later I decided to take.  He said, "Just keep going." 

I am grateful that every time that I find myself in the dumps, something always brings me back to reality and reminds me that life is pretty good.  In the meantime, I will just keep doing what I love and I am confident when my life is all over and done with I will be totally satisfied. I just need to keep going.

6 comments:

  1. I love both your writing and honesty. Thank you for this post.

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  2. Thanks Laura!

    I really appreciate that.

    CJ

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  3. God only knows what treasures you're laying up for yourself. Our real worth is not measured by what we earn or own; it's measured by how we've touched the lives of others. In that regard, you're a rich woman. Think about all of the prayers you've prayed, all of the praises you've sung, all of the lessons you've taught your friends and family, and the wonderful example you continue to live every day. Even strong women need to rest and gather their strength every now and then. I'm glad you've chosen to keep going.

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  4. "What I realize is that I cannot hold on relentlessly to what I think my success should look like. It is the pressures and expectations I put on myself that cause the disappointment."

    Your blog is such a haven for me. I just feel like we are cut from the same cloth and when I read about your ups and downs, I feel this relief like "It's not just me!"

    Yesterday, I felt all kinds of terrible because I was exhausted - part lack of sleep, part stressing myself out unnecessarily, part sinus issues - and my kids weren't listening, were fighting with each other, were just all riled up and I just wanted to be anywhere but with them and I felt SO GUILTY for feeling that way. Since having baby #3, our house is bursting at the seems and no matter how much I clean, I feel liek there is always stuff everywhere. I just wanted to run away.

    I knew that I just needed a good night's sleep, though, and some perspective. The big picture is always beautiful when I allow myself to take a step back and view it.

    Happy holidays!

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  5. For some reason my comments are not posting!

    Bonny: You are so right and those are the things that I sometimes struggle to remember when it comes to my personal goals. I am always Thankful that I have those around me to remind me - that its all good. Despite my anxieties -when I sit still and stop fretting - the joy and happiness of my life always reveals itself.

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  6. GG

    SOOO true and beautifully put!
    The big picture is always good and beautiful when we step away to look at it. That is why it is so essential that the busier we become - the more we need to step back to look -

    Prayer, meditation, a hot bath, 10 minutes staring out of the window - whatever. It's in the stillness that we get to see.

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