Monday, September 13, 2010
A Million Miles: Chapters 10-12
Welcome back! It's been a wild week, but everyone in the Baart household is happy, healthy, and loving our new home. Space! Oh, glorious space! We feel so incredibly, undeservedly blessed.
Anyway, I'm excited to jump right into the chapters for this week. So much in these pages spoke to me (especially the part about feeling like a loser in your own life), but I'm going to focus on one passage in particular. From Writing the World:
I've wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don't want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgement. We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn't remarkable, then we don't have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.
To me this entire passage can be summed up in a sentence: We don't want to live a life that requires us to accept the bitter with the sweet. Because really living--really truly investing ourselves in our life, the people around us, our community, our story--requires sacrifice. And let's face it: sacrifice sucks. It makes us dive down deep into ourselves, to the places where we are insecure and vulnerable and capable of being wounded. It's a whole lot easier to live life on the surface.
But it's also a lot less beautiful. It's less fulfilling. More mundane. I think Shauna Niequist puts in perfectly in her book (aptly named) Bittersweet: "...we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the callouses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, earthy." Amen. I choose a bittersweet life.
Which is easy to say right now when my life is sprinkled with sweet. And not some sort of light dusting of confectioners' sugar. We're talking a baking catastrophe--an industrial-sized bag of the good stuff spilling out all over me. It's not always like this... I've known loss and heartache, and even now amid all the good there are bitter pills to swallow. Feelings of isolation that creep in and cuddle up next to the contentedness. Distance from my husband as he puts in crazy-busy weeks at his new job. The knowledge that even though I do my best as a mother I fail and fail again. But even in the midst of this, I can see opportunities for growth and change... the possibility of a better me, a better life, a better story on the horizon.
What about you? Is your life more bitter or sweet right now? Are you afraid to accept the responsibility inherent in acknowledging that life is brilliant? Or do you accept the remarkable (and your role in it) with arms wide open? Anything else in these chapters you would like to discuss? I'd love to hear from you...