Who hasn’t been on the receiving end of that little tidbit of advice?
What they don’t tell you however, is how very hard it is to keep life’s little distractions from derailing your innermost desires, creative projects and goals.
Well…welcome to a glimpse of my life these past two years.
Let’s see…when I left you last, we had a new addition to our family, our first grandchild (Olivia Rose) and I could not have been happier. Since then, we sold our house, saw our youngest son graduate from high school, built our dream home (a project that took nearly a year), took a family trip to the beautiful island of Oahu, and then we were blessed once again, as we welcomed our second granddaughter (Jacie Therese). And of course, there’s the job. I’m a busy director at a large, academic medical center that is ever-expanding and doing its best to adapt to the challenging health care market. It’s a whirlwind of a job, but oh, so very satisfying. The job alone, is more than enough of a distraction.
Don’t get me wrong, I live a charmed life, and yes, I know it. My life is full with people who need me, but better yet, they love, and want me. I am privileged to play an active role in their equally busy lives, and for that, I am most grateful.
I’m blessed, and know that there are countless women out there, who long to be needed. And yet…I struggle with the how to juggle so many competing priorities. And there, at the edges of motherhood, I linger, in that fuzzy knowing, that I am not alone. I sense that most women feel as I do, drunk with the heady melange of blessing and obligation.
I recently read that old book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife, mother and pioneer aviator, GIFT from the SEA. Her book was first published in 1955, when she was waist deep in the muck of motherhood. Anne wrote that little book while holed up in an old beach cottage on Captiva Island, off Florida’s Gulf Coast. It was there, with the sun on her face and her toes in the sand, that Anne lay ink to the unspoken fears and guilt that threatens the happiness of all women, rich and poor. For Anne knew, instinctively that she could not be alone in her conflicted feelings regarding marriage and motherhood.
Each of Anne’s gifts from the sea offers nuggets of advice that remain as fresh and relevant today as in 1955. Because in the most basic of ways, women haven’t changed all that much in the nearly sixty years since the writing of that book. If anything, we women of today have taken on more responsibilities that have only further complicated our lives. Anne called this multiplicity, the antithesis of simplicity, and so often the cause of our life stress. And like those who have gone before us, we struggle with guilt. We blink back the tears that threaten to betray us and swallow hard against what we would really like to say. Why? Because we are blessed and we know it. We just don’t know how to keep from losing ourselves along the way. I always feel a little sad when I hear about a very young girl getting married. Because let’s be honest here…it isn’t going to be easy. My heart aches just a little for her, as I offer up a little prayer, that even if she manages to lose herself along the way; that someday, she’ll come across that girl she used to be and say, “Hey, I know you. I’ve missed you.”
Anne said it best when she said, “The problem is not merely one of Women and Career, Women and the Home, Women and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life.”
And so, I’M BACK. No more lame excuses. I am putting myself back on my own priority list.
I will continue to embrace the many lovely distractions that are my life, and do so, with sincere gratitude and due reverence for the blessings that they are. I will breathe in the sweet, innocence of youth as I kiss the tops of my darling granddaughters’ heads. And when they are grown, I will teach them not only to juggle, but to fight back when life’s distractions come pecking at the heels of their happiness. These things I will do.
But I will be damned if I don’t complete the revision of my book, once and for all, in the midst of my lovely, complicated life.
More to follow soon.
And now, on with editing and revising….