I am learning to accept the feeling of unease that frequently settles in the pit of my stomach. I am learning to live with uncertainty, with fears, with doubt. I am learning this because in the last few years I’ve experienced:
~ living far, far from family
~ my son’s deployment to Iraq
~ my daughter’s miscarriage of her first pregnancy
~ my father’s battle, and loss, to cancer
~ the death of my grandmother
~ family torn by divorce
~ stress, stress, more stress
~ distress in my marriage
~ uncertainty about work and income
~ a house for sell that didn’t sell
~ the struggles of my adult children with jobs and life decisions
and life continues. This is my list since 2006. I’ve counted other losses and difficulties before. These are the major markers since we moved to Alaska.
And what do I say? What do I do? What can I do? I pray. I feed myself the sustaining, nurturing words of wisdom that encourage me when I need the spark of hope. I believe in belief. I believe that above all, there is goodness in the world, there is joy in the morning, there is comfort for the downcast. I count the ways I’m fortunate, and the joys that fill my life even when I’m anxious.
I tell myself that life works out. It will be all right, whatever “it” may be. Have faith. But sometimes, I falter a bit. What if it doesn’t work out? I see others whose stories don’t end well, whose lives have not worked out according to plan. What if I, or those I love, have the same experience? What if?
I face the fear, feel the physical sensation in my stomach. We’re old friends now, this sensation and me. I recognize it for what it is. It feels good to be stronger than this feeling. This isn’t a sign of bravery. It is a victory of strength, strength I didn’t know I had, strength I am growing day by day. It comes from recognition. I can only do so much, I can only do what I can do. I, who avoid conflict, am learning to confront.
Back to first principles. Do your best. Do your part. Don’t give up. Appreciate what you have. Share when you can. Believe.
Last weekend I found a site that expresses this eloquently. If you are looking for encouragement and a call to be thankful, grateful, joyful, this may speak to you.
I am learning to rest, to have peace, to keep my joy…I didn’t have to acquire it, I came here with joy ingrained in my being. But I’ve struggled to hold it, through some of life’s question marks. And even as I write this, I know that I’ll have to do this again tomorrow, and the next day, and next.
Saturday night, hearing the tsunami warning sirens, racing to throw a few things in the car before evacuating, some of these thoughts were flashing through my mind. I thought of family, plans, dreams, impacted by unseen force of earthquake. How do you plan for earthquake? For tsunami? The answer is, you really don’t. You can do so little. But you do what you can. You evacuate when you’re told to. You follow instructions. You hope, you pray. You thank God for the people, the good things, filling your life. And when the rush of the moment is over and you realize there’s no life threatening emergency after all, you promise yourself you’ll remember that flash of insight. I have so much.
I am blessed. I am grateful. And I am learning.