The afternoon knows what the morning never expected. ~Swedish proverb
There is a question I have been contemplating for the last year and a half. How can any of us who have lived trauma or grief, who know that the unusual and unlikely do in fact happen, all the time – how do we keep showing up?
I haven’t answered the question except that I keep showing up and look to others whom also keep showing up. It’s an edge most people don’t like to walk or talk about.
People like to either discuss the light or the dark but rarely both. Adventure travelers love to tell you how ‘safe’ it is to travel the world, or ride your bike thousands of miles. They talk about how to be fearless and live your dream. Adventure athletes talk about their need to base jump or bomb down the side of the mountain and the freedom that brings. ‘Free range’ parents like to diss ‘helicopter’ parents. On the flip side, many people talk about how dangerous everything is and they try to control their lives and their children’s lives as if it were enough to keep out the bad. They don’t leave their comfort zone and they don’t think anyone else should either.
It’s all there, the light and the dark, in everything. It’s easy to talk about adventures when things are going your way. Or to focus on the bad when evidence is all around us. But to realize that fear is real, that bad things do happen and continue on anyway, that is harder.
I have a new appreciation for people that share their story and keep showing up after they are vulnerable:
- The cyclist that sustains brain and body injuries but continues to race.
- The base jumper that looses her husband and friend in multiple jumping accidents and continues on with her life and passion.
- The travelers that fail miserably and are criticized around the world but continue to plan.
- The parents that loose children via miscarriage or stillbirth etc… and have others.
These people know how suddenly, how irreversibly, life can change. In an instant. And yet they are still pursing life. Still doing their best to live in this unstable, unpredictable world, where everything we build can be gone in an instant.
And for those that are honest and open about their daily struggles to live life to the fullest. They may not be going through a major trauma but they share pieces of their lives and keep showing up:
- Parents that travel to the other side of the world with a toddler and are open and honest about the entire journey.
- A Mom talking bravely about her role as a stay at home mom and lover of the outdoors.
- A new blogger that is vulnerable in her stories about carving her own path as a mother.
For me it’s about being okay near water even though that is where my son died; letting my other son be alone with people even though they could hurt him; traveling to new places even though bad things could happen there; riding my bike even though I could crash; birthing another child even though it may be complicated. I am not safe from anything but on the flip side I don’t see danger and fear lurking around every corner.
Nothing in this life lies inside our control. You are not going to jinx yourself by thinking about the dark or telling the less ‘ideal’ side of your stories. You are not going to avoid the dark by only focusing on the light. And sometimes the dark actually holds the key to some amazing discoveries.
How do you keep showing up, knowing it’s not always easy and things could change in an instant?