Updated: Mar 25, 2022
Times are a bit tough right now. So many reasons and they are different for each and every one of us. But we keep muddling our way through and finding new ways to keep ourselves pushing forward. The undercurrent of feeling unsettled may not be as strong today as it was a few weeks ago, but I find it is still there – eroding a bit of the foundation as it once stood.
Here are some of the silver linings that have kept me going:
I have been gaining weight. I know I am not alone in this. “Quarantine Fifteen!” Raising cortisol levels due to stress have endeared a comforting friendship between myself and ice cream. It is true and strong.
Silver Lining: My boobs look amazing! And… my husband doesn’t seem to notice the weight elsewhere because of such shining beacons.
Have your kids been at home all day running amuck because boredom comes so easily to them? Mine have. Not only does this garner frustration from their antics, but a double edge of feeling as though I am being neglectful to them through my dedication to work. The feeling of having to choose between my commitment to work and my commitment as a mother is a disparaging one.
Silver Lining: I have found new ways to torture my children with the manual labor I once knew as ‘chores.’ As it turns out, amidst the grumblings of having to do so much around the house, there is a pride building in their chests and a greater understanding of the work Mom and Dad put into keeping the household running. The glimmers of independence I see in their eyes are a gift.
I have been feeling depressed by the constant buzz of uncertainty vibrating through my chest. Is it just me? Am I having a stronger reaction to these times than I should?
Silver Lining: I found myself reaching out to people to share my feelings and gain advice and understanding. The other day I was talking to a friend of mine – someone I don’t visit with often but have known since high school. We were commiserating about the current state of our emotional lives. That day I made a deep and incredible connection, one that warmed the caverns of my spirit. This friend was also struggling with depression – has been for quite some time, even before this unsettled part of global history. She expressed how refreshing it was to hear someone else talk about the challenge of such mental fights. We found comfort in the fact that we were joined in our courage to reach out for help. I believe she has felt alone in her depression, without an empathy for herself, without the understanding that it takes far more courage to ask for help than to continue the mental battle in silence. This connection allowed us both to breathe a little easier, not feel so alone in our daily walk towards freedom from oppressing emotion, and there was a palpable lift from the weight of judgement.
I have been hard on myself lately, working full time while my kids are home, little sleep resulting in a muddled brain at work, exhausted to the point where exercising has seemed a chore worth putting off until another day. Something has to give. I am doing all the things but I don’t feel like I am doing any of them well. So, I search for a balance… I search for empathy for myself instead of wielding blows of judgement and the feelings of failure all around.
Do you know what I have found? Grace! I found Grace in a picture of footprints; footprints in the sand – erased by waves, one after another.
I have been encouraged by the visage of myself walking along a never-ending beach. White crystalline sand glinting with the sunlight shining upon each grain, deep teal waves kissed with froth from the strength of their momentum forward, and a gentle breeze that touches my skin - all bring me into a world of understanding. As I pan closer in, I can see even this dreamlike world is not without its challenges. Each step is made with greater effort as the grains of sand fall away from the force.
I walk for miles along the beach, searching for answers and healing. I look over my shoulder – eyes surveying - and feel the breeze blow my hair across my cheek. I hold a confidence in my heart for the progress I made.
To my dismay, as I look upon the path I have traveled, I see each and every one of my deliberate steps forward have been erased by the waves. I have no measure of the effort it has taken to get this far. I am disheartened. I put forth all that energy and time, I moved forward instead of standing paralyzed by the weight of my emotion. I knew the way out was forward – and yet – as it looks now, I am still standing on the same beach. I see the same waves, feel the same breeze, and smell the same salty air.
What the wind whispers in my ear lifts me.
“The momentum of the wind cannot be seen. I have no measure of my power. I have no tangible proof of my life’s work. And yet, it is I that carry the waves to shore. It is I that strengthens the souls of the trees as I challenge them to become stronger with my efforts. It is I that brings the birds to these shores, holding them strong beneath their wings. My forward momentum has immeasurable strength, without which this world would not be the same.”
“So, too, does your forward momentum. The waves erode the tangible evidence of your journey towards greater understanding and strength. Each step you take brings you closer to your destination. The energy you put forth has not been wasted, it has gotten you here and you are a stronger person with each step.”
“My child, even though you cannot see your footprints, please don’t dismiss the efforts you have taken to get here. They are valiant efforts. In them are strength and courage, perseverance and tenacity. Be kind to yourself. Each step you take moves you forward!”
My friends, each step you take moves you forward. Even the smallest steps are forward momentum and these sometimes take the most strength and courage. Though sometimes our steps are washed away by the waves of life and leave us no proof of our efforts, we know in our hearts the progress we have made. Celebrate that progress. Keep your momentum.
Lift your face to the sun and feel the kiss of the wind, its whispers of encouragement, that breathe grace into your spirit.
You are loved! You are not alone! You are courageous! You are teaching your children each day as you lead by example. And… your boobs look amazing!
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