Patience and discernment.
The road ahead is uphill, winding, very steep with few safe ledges. My climbing gear is old and put together with duct tape, my rope frayed, and the anchors have all been rusted, you can’t fathom trusting them if you slip, but I know there will come pitches I cannot ascend if I rely only on my feet to guide me. I have to trust, it will be okay, and even when I stumble, I will not fall.
I have been asking of my own deepest self, of God, of every thought and every experience, what is the best path forward. How will I know. I mean, really ever know, for sure?
That is where faith comes in.
The other day, I was sweeping the kitchen, wandering not on tiptoes above the dog hair and crumbs, but in some distant memory of one other Wednesday afternoon in some other life I lived.
There I saw a version of myself I recognize, but I look at her now as some former self, still inside but not the same as I am now. I thought, as I was sweeping, that we have this idea about other lives, but maybe you don’t reach them when you die, you kill them off, one by one, as you live.
I thought, if that girl found a way, so will I.
I amused myself at the thought of all I’ve walked through. So many lives, so many parts of me playing center stage at different times. I’ve been the quiet daughter, the caring sister, a good friend. I’ve been the wife of a Federal Agent from another Country, I’ve been a preacher’s son’s wife, I’ve been the wife of a Vice President (oh, maybe I should stop doing that..) I’ve been a mother, to the daughter born the same date my own mother died. I’ve been the mother of girl who looks just like me. I’ve been the mother to the baby I had at home. I’ve been the mother to a son who was not my own, knowing I could lose him but loving him anyway. I’ve been a mother through the beautiful tragedy of adoption from foster care. I’ve been a worker, a friendly smile or a hug just because. I’ve been a yogi, a writer, a potter, a painter. I’ve been someone who grieves the loss of a mother. I’ve been someone who never gives up one day then says fuck this shit the next. I’ve been a sinner, I’ve been quietly giving and humble.
And then I was back cleaning the kitchen, tiptoes on the dog hair, eyes surveying the work of a present moment.
If I can be all those things and make it through, walk all those paths and still find myself here, today, then what am I afraid of, really?
God has never left me in any life I’ve lived. I see it so simply. There is no reason to fear.
So my work, my prayers now, are of patience and discernment.
Seeking not to rush the process, not to stifle the painful dance I must master here.
The battle is not with the circumstances, the war is within my resistance to them.
That is where my focus would be best put, so that I can discern what thoughts and feelings work towards that goal, and acknowledge those that do not and then letting them go.
I won’t know what tomorrow will bring. So much is uncertain, but I know this one thing. There is power in me that is greater than myself, and each step I take honors faithfulness to my God, whom never leaves me, trusting even when it seems unsafe, unsure, trusting when it hurts, I will make it up this mountain.
Patience and discernment.