When life has been challenging, sometimes I just want to go to bed and get out of the game. I want to pretend that my choices don’t matter to anyone else.
But those kinds of choices always matter. Especially if we’re a parent. Or a spouse. Or an employer. Or a friend.
“We do not have the luxury of despair. If we rise, they will rise with us.” Cheryl Strayed
We can read all we want about rising strong, but rising obviously doesn’t happen when we are standing tall. It happens when we are down. When we are confused. When we are in pain. When we are struggling. It’s harder to recite the platitudes from that position. And even harder to live them.
But we always have a choice in how we orient our attitudes. Sometimes rising means looking someone in the eye and saying, “I don’t know how all this will work out. I can’t see it right now. But I am holding on to the hope that I will move forward.”
The most important lesson we can teach our children, or anyone touched by our lives, is that no one day is the end of the story. I watch those reality TV shows where a mom or dad says they are competing for their children to be proud of them and to know that they can achieve anything if they will just believe and work hard.
And that is great. But I think a more important lesson is that what I am doing now is part of a bigger picture. It’s not about whether I win or lose. It’s about whether I can trust the process of life. A loss might feel bad right now, but I will learn something. It may take a little time to recover because I gave it all I had. But it is not the end of the story.
Resurrection only happens after an event that looks a lot like defeat. It might take a “few days” before that can happen, and we need to get whatever help we need to process our loss, failure, or pain. But we really don’t have the luxury of despair. Our lives are beautifully interwoven with others. And our choices matter more than we might want at that time.
Wholehearted living is about taking responsibility for our lives and being vulnerable and taking risks and making decisions that may not please everyone. But is also about knowing we live in community and wanting to be generous with our lives. I want those who depend on my life to gain strength from it.
My greatest privilege as a wife, mother, friend and mentor is to model a life of rising. Is it always easy? No. And I don’t always like it. But I don’t have the luxury of choosing anything else. When I fall, my response is incredibly important. Incredibly important people are watching. If I rise, they will rise with me.