The Swells and Crests of Life
We had a period of time this fall into early winter where things were relatively calm. I remember thinking to myself during that time, Remember to appreciate this. Be thankful for this.
Because I’ve been around at least long enough to know that life comes in seasons, in swells and crests, and that something would come to stir up our temporarily calm seas.
Mary was in the hospital for two nights just before Christmas, and RSV spread through the rest of the family for most of Christmas break.
Then, in January we caught our breath.
In February, we lost my aunt to suicide, and we are still recovering from that loss. The pain continues to come in waves. There are good days, and there are difficult days. The air leaves my chest and my stomach sinks every time I go in the basement and see a pile of boxes there. All her stuff. Filled with clothes and baking supplies and art that I have no idea what to do with and no clue if or when or how I will be ready to see it, to touch it, to use it again.
Coming to terms with the pain she felt, our own powerlessness to do anything to change it, and the hope that my prayers can help her still all make for a complicated mix of emotions. I can’t control when the grief hits. And when it does, it isn’t always convenient.
And it just seems like right now there is an abundance of regular but personal and professional business that make finding balance more tricky than it is at other times. I’ve wanted to have time to write more on the blog, but it’s been difficult to find the words to say amidst all the sadness.
I’m struggling with knowing the best direction to take my novel, and in discerning if it’s time to let it rest for a bit and start something new. It’s tough for me to leave a thing unfinished, in any area of life. And it’s also tough for me when there is no clear end point. I can’t say for certain when it will be ‘done.’
We are making some positive, needed, good changes, like moving to a bigger home to account for the growing number of people in our family. I’ve started being asked to speak even in different states, which is super cool and exciting.
But compartmentalizing is tricky for me. It’s tough for me to keep everything in it’s own separate baskets in my mind and things tend to spill over. Today, I wrote an outline for myself to make sure I’m managing my self-care. Blocking time to write, to read, to exercise, to sleep. To make sure I respect the rhythm of my own body and the way God has made me. I recharge my batteries by having time alone. By writing. By reading. And by prayer. If I don’t make it a priority, then I can go too long without making it happen, get caught up in the current, and I start to feel anxious.It was good to take time to actually write out those priorities. And it’s amazing what a quiet hour by myself can do for my peace of mind and ability to be present for my family.
The long and short of it is, I need to remember to give myself a break! I can’t be All The Things All The Time to All The People. I can’t read an article while Mary is crawling on my lap. I can, however, set aside time specifically for Mary crawling on my lap and other kid related endeavors, and also set aside different time to read that article.
I am strong, but I am not a superhero. And I think consistently trying to do more than one thing well at one time is a way to drain this momma fast.
If I need some time to grieve, I need to take some time to grieve. Not grieve AND feed the kids dinner. Not grieve AND coach a teacher. I need to open up time to just let myself grieve, at least at some point during that day. And respect it. Likewise, I can’t write a super cool blog post AND interact with my kids (with any level of patience). I can work on house hunting/building stuff, but not at the same time as I pack my lunch.
It sounds so simple, but it is something I try and do so often! Not only am I going to do this one thing, but I’m going to do more than most other normal people and try and do more than one thing at the same time and then take pride in the fact that I am able to be so productive and efficient!
But at the end of the day, I just make myself tired.
So this is a good, recurring lesson for me. We won’t ever be able to finish All The Things when all is said and done. And learning to let myself take a slower pace, or set something aside for a while will only help maintain some much-needed balance. During the times when the seas are calm, but also when they are rougher too.
One thought on “Strong But Not Superhuman”
Wonderful article. I agree that finding balance is key. Someone I greatly admire told me recently that “Action inspires motivation,” not the other way around.
I have found that to be immensely helpful in my own current season of grieving. My inclination has been to isolate, and I know that wouldn’t be good for me. Taking some time alone is healthy for anyone, but isolating is a whole different thing.
So I take the advice I was given and I strive to take the action that is most appropriate for self care, even when it feels odd. Even when I don’t feel like it. Then I experience the benefits of that positive action, and it motivates me to do it more often. “Action inspires motivation.”
If I waited until I felt I had time for one thing, or felt like doing another thing, (like meditating, praying or exercising) it would likely never happen. Routines, structure and a solid game plan help me greatly in all seasons, but particularly in the stormy ones. The ones where I feel very off-kilter.
That certainly doesn’t mean I always have balance or that I always stick with my plan. 😉 In fact, I’m still formulating the structure I so greatly need. But I have a target in mind and have made a beginning.
Thank you for sharing your feelings, your blessings and your storms so openly and honestly. Your words are inspiring on so many levels.
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