I went to bed last night wondering what to write this morning, and awoke without inspiration. I decided to read first while waiting for my coffee to brew, and this quote grabbed me, forcing me to reread it several times.
"We do not become hopeful by talking about hope. We become hopeful by entering darkness and waiting for the light. We become hopeful by being honest with one another about our pain and then waiting, together, for God to show us a way toward healing."
--Mark Yaconelli, The Gift of Hard Things: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places
Optimistic realism is my status quo. I firmly believe in Stephen Covey's principle of only concerning myself with that which lies within my sphere of influence--a message that's been repeated to me in related readings and by nurses in a NICU while my daughter lived there for 65 days. The principle that got me through deaths of loved ones, children's illnesses, lay-offs and job changes.
That's what moms do, right? We face fear--our own and that of our loved ones--and then roll up our sleeves and get to work, doing what we can to alleviate the anxiety, doling out the hugs and the bandaids, making the phone calls, dealing with the paperwork. And if that doesn't work, we clean the toilets. Or bake a great cake. Or fill in the calendar, plan the menus, talk about work.
Anything to move forward through the fear, the grief, the unknowing.
I don't know if we ever allow ourselves to really enter the darkness.
As I get older, I find it harder and harder to cry. Crying means stopping, giving in, wallowing.
Then why did this passage bring tears to my eyes? Because I realized that I am afraid. In less than a week, my son will have surgery. His orthodontist and oral surgeon believe that by moving his jaws forward and reconstructing his nasal cavity, his airways will open to allow him to breathe fully, possibly for the first time in his life.
Breathing is good. So what am I afraid of? The surgery, of course--he will be under anesthesia for four hours. The pain he will most undoubtedly suffer, even with medication. The changes to the face I love, that I look at more closely these days, knowing it will be different afterward. The four months of recovery, in which he won't be allowed to chew food. The difficulties and details this adds to beginning his freshman year of college in two and a half months. The insurance company, taking its time to re-examine our doctor's findings after denying coverage.
I will allow myself to cry. And hope. And make the phone calls, deal with the paperwork, plan activities that will get us through the pain and fear.
That's what moms do.