“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me … Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein
Here upon the dawn of a fresh new year, I wanted to write you poetry. I wanted to write you dreamy, sweet, recollections. But yesterday, I called my sister in tears, and so instead, I decided to write you truth. Here it is. Being a dreamer … a wisher … a doer, is sometimes overwhelmingly heavy. Waking up each day with stories you know need to be told, but don’t have the time to tell–stepping into new days and weeks and months that pass without your permission or intention–finding that there were so many meant-to’s still in a wishful pile of haven’t done’s … it’s a lot.
This year, I have been a mom to two teenagers. I’ve been a wife (albeit one who owes her husband about a million date nights). I have started a new job teaching an entirely new level of (high school). I’ve continued my blog. I’ve been a guest speaker. I’ve written for my favorite magazine for another year. And yet, oh friends. Yet, I am the farthest thing from satisfied that I’ve done enough.
So I called her, my sweet sister, in tears. I’m not much of a cryer–until I am. Then, it seems, I have no choice but to let it all out. I called to confess that I have so much more to do, so much I’ve not done, so much I started without finishing. I told her I wanted to be someone my kids could be proud of for chasing and pursuing and “making” something of herself. I asked her why I have so many words in my mind, spinning and itching to be sent and spoken. I asked her why I can’t get farther. I asked. And I cried. And I muttered, “Why can’t I get farther?”
“Oh, sweetheart,” she said. “It’s because you’re not arriving. You’re already there.” She went on to explain (in the patient way that only sisters can) that the standard I hold myself to is not the same version of me the world sees. She told me that my children, my husband, and my family are already proud of me … and that the only one who isn’t, is me.
The truth, it would seem, is just as heavy as all of those other feelings. But where self-doubts seem to weigh me down, this spoken truth, was more of a blanket statement … settling over and comforting the parts of my heart and mind that are so often restless.
Dear ones. I wish you many things in this new year. I wish me many things too, but more than anything, I wish you truth and hopeful expectancy. May you hear the words that need to be said. May you feel the prayers that need to rest on and stay with you. May you allow yourself to be loved exactly as you are, not as you think you should be.
Here, on the eve of a brand new shiny turn about the sun: my fears have been cried, my tears have been dried, my wishes to heaven have been sent, and my busy brain has begun plotting and planning without strings attached. Maybe things will work out … maybe something better than my own plans will come to be … maybe nothing what-so-ever will change. No matter what, it is with a tenacious heart and winged-spirit that I step into 2023.
Ironically, or not so ironically, this particular verse popped up on two different apps of mine, two days in a row. “God’s timing is perfect,” Ecclesiastes 2:11. Work on believing it with me.
Delight and unabashed joy for what was, what is, and what will be, or won’t. Regardless of circumstances, sparkle and shine. Smile and trust. Love and be loved. Peace and optimism and effervescent hope be yours!