When tragedy hits, it is easy to get stuck. Stuck in grief, stuck in despair, stuck in the daily routine of life as you just try to survive. Some days, it can feel like you are clinging to that routine for all you're worth as the one piece of sanity in a world suddenly gone insane.
Eventually, there comes a time in the grieving process where you have to let go of that routine a bit, let go of the past, so that you can decide what you want your future without to look like.
If the very idea of thinking of the future without your loved one hurts too much, you are not at that point yet. However, it is odd how quickly one point of view can change to the other.
I went to a grief counsellor for a couple of months in the fall, and found his insight to be tremendously helpful. He would always start off our sessions by asking me how I was doing. And I would tell him.
Usually, the answer described the number of days that were "less hard" or"really hard." He said something to me that I agree with, and haven't forgotten:
The last two weeks of December were incredibly difficult for me. There were many complicating factors, one of which was the prospect of beginning a new year without Levi. In fact, I finally came to realize that I was not just grieving, but depressed. Not "clinically" in the sense that I had no good reason for my depression and couldn't see a way out, just depressed in the sense of always feeling sad and overwhelmed and fearful of the future.
Days later, hope began to sprout in my heart again, like a gift from the Father.
As the kids went back to school and the hubby went back to work and I was left with the hours of solitude to ponder, I pondered what I wanted to do with this new year, with my "new" life. For the first time, I really began to accept that I would no longer be a mother of little ones. My day could be filled with all those things that I had been putting off "until all the kids are in school."
Jude turned thirteen in November. So that's how long it's been since I could consider this.
As I pondered, I realized that there are some other areas of my life that I am not happy with, either--constant sources of frustration and discontentment that I put up with for years because of necessity or because I just kept waiting for things to get better on their own--or because I didn't have the energy to change them.
Right now, I'm looking at everything and examining it under new light--do I keep this activity, or discard it? Is this beneficial to me or my family, or does it drain my energy from the things I am called to first? Do I find this fulfilling?
As I critically examined my career path and my lifestyle choices, ideas began to form. Ideas became goals. The goals were written down, and filled in with plans.
And the plans were quickly derailed.
I didn't let them get derailed too badly, though. I knew last week when I started drafting my blogging schedule that I may find it particularly difficult to meet it during this first month. Posting regularly requires work, and some advance planning. I am also learning some new skills so I can create the quality of work I expect of myself.
All of this so I can work towards my Big Goal for this year: be writing/designing/blogging full time by October.
Oh, it's kind of scary to say that to you, because I know you're going to hold me accountable. And I may not make it. Maybe grief will derail me more than I expect. Maybe unexpected circumstances will throw a monkey wrench in my goals. Maybe that goal is too lofty and ambitious to achieve so quickly.
You know what? It's okay to be scared. If a dream isn't at least a little bit scary, it's probably not really worth being called a "dream". If we don't push our boundaries and challenge ourselves, then why? Just why?
Obstacles will always be there, right in front of everything you want to achieve or do, from painting a room to building a multi-national company. At the beginning, when there are the most obstacles between you and your goal, it is tempting to focus on those and decide that the end result just isn't worth the effort.
Honest, once you start, the obstacles become a much smaller deal. You don't have to face them all at once, just the one that's right in front of you.
I've hit obstacles already. Yeah, it's taking me a little bit to get going on my new plan. I missed a couple of deadlines this week, and had to shunt some items on the "to-do" list into the future--but I'm still going to do them.
I started. And I'm not quitting. Because my dream deserves the effort it's going to take to achieve.
How about you? How is that list of New Year's resolutions looking now? Have you started? Have you slipped up already? Have you set new deadlines and dates, and kept working anyway?
Remember the most important part of that list: