I've always had one or two books on my nightstand, and since Adeline's passing I tend to fly through them, soaking up any words of wisdom that make this life seem a little more manageable.
My current reading adventure is Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. Something she said struck me today. As she writes about her life story, she notes that many of us use the popular catchphrase “God will not give you more than you can handle" to justify the stress of busy lives spent amassing.
Although Erin believes this to be true, she also wonders if “God has given us few things - aging parent, some mouths to feed, a recent job loss- and we have given ourselves many more things-the Target credit card bill, a yard to mow, a bigger house with extra bedrooms for guests, three dinner parties to host, and the inability to say no to serving animal crackers in Sunday school twice this month. Between God’s giving and our own giving, there is excess."
We cannot control the events of our past; there is nothing I can do to change my loss. The weight of our loss is heavy and now fertility treatments add an additional load, not only on my schedule but also on my heart.
In an effort to lessen the load, I spent the last several months attempting to rid my life of excess. I logically understand we can’t keep going at the pace to which we’d become accustom. So I’ve been going through the motions of getting rid of things and saying “no” when needed.
Yet, I still have this deep-seated expectation that I’m supposed to be able to handle it all.
I feel inadequate because I’m not able to contribute to this world in the same ways I did in the past. It’s a strange place to be, knowing you need to slow down or to pull back and yet feeling guilty about that choice.
I hadn’t yet come to the realization that my guilt was a reflection of my need to keep up with society's standard of what I should be doing. Losing a child constantly challenges your own preconceived notions about how life is supposed to go and this situation is no different.
Today, I realized this choice, the one to slow down, is an acknowledgment of who I am and what I need and that it is ok.
Maybe it was never intended for me to be able to handle it all.
Maybe we create expectations of ourselves that are not needed or helpful.
I think we can all agree that this path we call life hands us events that are outside our control, events that shake us to our core and leave us wondering what our lives will look like moving forward.
I'm discovering what I want my life to look like moving forward and attempting to reconcile that with my mind's need to keep me on the path society says I should be working towards.
I am crafting a life that fits my path, no one else's, just mine.
No one will ever experience the exact life you’ve lived and no one will ever go to the exact places you're going. You are uniquely you.
Go out, my friends, and build a life that’s uniquely yours, without judgment or fear. Find freedom in embracing who you are and what you need from this life.
Peace and Love to you all.