Originally titled, “A Letter for Someone Else”
Sometimes I look at you…
And I envy how you are able to have all these different things going on…
teaching at a university, attending and giving lectures, going to school, writing books and working on even more books, giving talks, blogging, etc etc…
You seem so full of life and energy and passion for the stuff that you do!
I think I know what I am really envying:
The time and energy available to you. That you can use to fill up with all these action items and accomplishments.
Because once upon a time, I was just like you. I was one of those people others asked, “do you ever sleep? seriously how do you do it?”
I seem to be able to pull off amazing feats in accomplishing and establishing myself in such a short time that I was surprised it took as long as it did to burn me out.
Now, though, I see myself mostly fatigued.
I love what I do, I have tremendous passion and ideals and ideas.
But at the end of the day… well, it’s at the end of the day, and I survived it!
This is when I start listening to the scratchy record of self-criticism, the one that said, “hey, what have YOU got to SHOW for to PROVE YOUR WORTH?”
It’s when I have to fight back with what is real and what is my reality.
My reality is that I have love. A fiercely loyal husband and a child who loves to laugh (and break things, he is a boy).
My reality is that I have friends. Even though most of them live out of state (even out of the country, from Africa to Singapore!) and some of them I’ve never even met. But somehow these rare individuals see me and like me for my quirks and my headache-inducing questions about life.
My reality is that I get to have the luxury of worrying about “what should I do with my life?” rather than worrying about where my next meal was coming next and whether I would still have a roof over my head.
My reality is that I’m mostly healthy. Yes, there are some recent challenges that are a bit scary. Even frightening if I let myself think into the future. But like I told my husband, “I’ve kicked clinical depression in the ass – so this new thing that we still don’t really know about? I know I can handle it!” and I believed what I’d said.
My reality is that I am living the life that I’ve chosen. I’m living the path that I wanted to take.
This was the path of parenthood that I often view as conflicting with the path I had long identified myself with – this was the path that gives no thanks yet floods my heart with overwhelming gratitude – this was the path that I chose because I knew I’d have a rough time with it and I knew deep down that I needed to go this way if only to break free of the chains of what I believed made me worthwhile.
So yes, I do envy this apparent creative and entrepreneurial freedom that you seem to have.
But I’m glad I have temporarily traded mine (my creative and entrepreneurial freedom) for this brief moment in time,
… when I get to experience how deeply touched I am when my child fumbles for my hand to hold in his little hand when he falls asleep.
… when I get to experience how it feels to fall in love every single day when I open my eyes and see my child smiling happily at me, excited that I was finally awake to start the day with him.
… when I get to experience a level of fear and anxiety and faith and fortitude that only a parent with a special needs child can experience.
For all my questions and seeking and doubt about God, I feel like I
have an IV line to the inner light God gives in the darkness of fear.
For this, I can thank myself for making the right choice.
For you, I wish you continued success.