What a great discussion we had last week about what keeps us sane! From foot massage to being near water to house plants, podcasts and baking, we have gotten creative. As I said in one comment, I just feel saner reading through the comments :)! This week as we continue with Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis by Kimberlee Conway Ireton I’m a bit, I’ll just own it, anxious about the topic.
It’s fun to think about what keeps me sane and to hear from you about what keeps you sane. I like thinking about flowers and making scripture art and smelling freshly baked cookies (by one of you! But I’d help you stay sane by popping in and helping you eat them :)). But as I’ve said before, part of what draws me to this book is the ways in which Kimberlee is willing to walk straight into the wide spectrum of life. She doesn’t camp in all the pain OR all the joy. She lives broadly and so shall we!
This is from the chapter called Bed:
“[In my journal] I write, I am just now — just now!– realizing that life is a long journey of letting go. We embrace for a season and then we have to release those we love. How do we live with love and joy, without fear of pain, when we finally see that loss and the grief that accompanies it are the price of love, the price of any life worth living?”
A long journey of letting go.
I know it’s true because I have seen the truth of it in my own life. And I know you get it. This isn’t unique to those of us called to this life overseas, but we have been asked to pay a different price (I almost said “higher price” implying that our path is more holy than those who aren’t called). I don’t know about you, but the revolving door of relationships is one of the hardest parts for me.
This is embarrassing to admit. And I’m not sure it’s going to make the final edit, but here goes. On of the places I lived for ten years was a combo of long and short term people. By short term, I mean recent college grads who made a one year commitment. It was a very significant year for them and for many the gateway to longer service. A great program and I support it! But after about seven years, I got worn out of meeting people who were not going to be in my life the next year. That particular year there were six new women, I learned two of their names and gave the other four numbers in my head. The only problem was others didn’t know who #3 was so they had no idea who I was referring to.
(Before you think I’m a monster, let me justify myself — for that is what I”m doing — by saying I wasn’t their team leader or directly involved with them. If I were, let’s hope it is OBVIOUS I would have learned their names. You can see why this might get edited out.)
I’m not saying we need to embrace everything and everyone. That leads to a whole host of other problems, doesn’t it? But Kimberlee asks a valuable question: How do we live with love and joy, without fear of pain, when we finally see that loss and the grief that accompanies it are the price of love, the price of any life worth living?”
I look at pictures of my nieces around the age of 18 months and the ways they nestled in my arms. Even though we can now play games beyond the mind-numbing (bashing?!!) Candy Land, that phase of life is over and I miss it.
I remember holding my dad’s hand on his deathbed.
I think of the hundreds of time I have said goodbye to someone at the airport as either they leave me or I leave them. And I think, Amy, you are exaggerating, it can’t be in the hundreds. But when I slow down and do the math, it pains me to realize I’m not exaggerating.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
So how do we do it?
For me, it helps to remind myself to hold both as true: the good and the painful. I held my dad’s hand, but I also hold hundreds of good memories with him. I see who my nieces were, but I also get to see who they are becoming (and Lord willing, the ways they will torture my sister during adolescence :)!). I have so many more people in my life because I didn’t live in just one place.
Maybe the most important word Kimberlee used was “season.” We don’t embrace forever. Either a place, a stage of life, a career, a home. But we do embrace, knowing the embracing will be laced with times of letting go.
What are you being asked to let go now (I’ll share mine in the comments). What are you getting to embrace right now? Does this idea of a “long journey of letting go” help you? I love our chats!
NEXT WEEK: Is ask an author! Kimberlee will be here and open to chatting with us in the comments. I’ve got a few questions to get us going, but then the floor is yours! Be thinking of you might want to ask Kimberlee.
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