Fear is Dirty, And It’s Fine

I am new to everything I feel I should already have mastery over.

Parenting.

Marriage.

Writing.

Self-directed learning.

Sobriety.

Feeling new is scary. I want to know it all.

I want to know what my kids need before they need it.

I want to foresee every marital conflict before it happens and stop it from ever happening.

I want to be a best-selling author.

I want to know how to facilitate my kids’ learning without accidentally or passively or willfully imposing my will, and I want to know exactly what outcomes I can expect, and I want to do and know that without ever feeling stressed or showing my kids unappealing emotions.

I want to be God.

But I’m not God.

I’m not gonna be able to have or do anything perfectly.

I’m gonna make a lot of mistakes.

I do make a lot of mistakes.

Maybe writing this is a mistake.

But here’s where I can exert some useful willfulness.

I can willfully choose not to seek approval or permission from others.

I feel new to my life because every morning I wake up new to my life.

The people around me are in the same uncomfortable and unpredictable boat. Why do I expect them to have my answers when I – the sole occupant of MY life – don’t?

That doesn’t mean I don’t seek other people’s perspectives and experiences. I need feedback desperately. I connect to God through others more often than I connect to God on my own. I don’t always love that reality because remember, I want to know it all already. Navigating relationships and sifting through conversations for gold is an overwhelming concept.

But living the concept out is a meditation in love.

Navigating relationships requires me to be in deep relationship with myself, so I can actually see the routes others have taken as distinct from my own and find the places where our journeys naturally and efficiently intersect.

Sifting conversations for gold involves getting my hands dirty. It’s immersing myself in imperfect communication from whole humans and choosing to look for the beautiful and valuable instead of focusing on all the muck I had to touch to get there.

It’s also scary.

Cuz it means I don’t know how much time I’m gonna spend in filth. It means I don’t know how lost I’m gonna get before I find my way.

But I can choose, for today at least, to believe that no matter how long it takes or lost I get, I will find the gold and the road and the life I want to live.

I can find it every day.

But if I rely on other people to tell me what my life should look like, I’ll miss the answer. Because I’m already in it. If I’m breathing, I’m already in the “should” because I’m in the now. I’m in the “is.” That’s the gold. That’s the destination.

I’m who I need to be and where I need to be right now.

It’s a lot less scary to look at my life that way.

And at the risk of taking the easy way out, peace.

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