Because I was sad and going through heartbreak and loss and self-imposed unemployment, when I met my friend Meredith 6.5 years ago, I became instantly connected to her unflappable honesty and courageous vulnerability. Because Meredith is wise and sees beyond the surface of all living things, at that time, she gave me a book by Margaret Wheatly titled Perseverance.
Because, since then, I’ve moved twice, gotten married, pregnant twice and all kinds of other things, the book got shelved upstairs in between a pile of other books that I’d been carrying around with me since college. Forgotten but not lost, it sat there.
Because 6.5 years later today, I was feeling shaky and irritable by my ongoing situation with my injured foot and my forever recovering hip, I started organizing my bookshelf. Because I felt hopeless and sad and somewhat resigned and even a tad victimized, I noticed the title, and remembered brave Meredith. I put the book beside my bed, and told myself I would look at it later.
Because I had a rough night with my kids, with pain in my ankle and with myself, I laid down this evening and let my fears and resignation and sadness out. I cried and considered that I might never be better. I felt like a victim, and as the tears came faster and faster, I allowed myself to believe that I was one. That my chances were gone and my choices were too limited and enough was enough.
About an hour ago, I said: DONE. I don’t even want to try anymore.
But, my daughter wandered into my room to see if I was okay, and as I wiped my tears and sat up, I watched her walk directly to my bedside table and pick up Perseverance.
Because the title struck me again, I opened the book, and flipped through a few pages. Because her name is Eliot and we named her after both T.S. and George, I stopped on a page with a poem written by T.S.
Only Don’t Know
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
Because I needed to read those very exact words at that very exact moment, I sucked in a big breath. Hugged my baby girl. Touched a hand to my heart and felt the current washing me back through this year, last year, the year before that and every moment all the way back to that time when Meredith gave me this book.
And, because of this gift that has made its way to me after 6.5 years, 2 moves, 2 children, one husband and all the things, I remembered the one thing that I am best in the world at. And, that is TRYING.
I was never the fastest runner.
Not the top of my class.
I was not the most beautiful.
I have never been perfectly coiffed.
I am not the best cook.
I am not the best writer.
I am often not on time.
I am generally dressed for yoga or cleaning my house or both.
I am not shiny.
I am not new.
But, damn guys, I CAN TRY.
Trying’s the thing I was basically born to do. When I don’t know what to do, I try. When things don’t go my way, I try. When things fall apart, I try. I try and I try and I try. If trying was a sport, I would be an OLYMPIAN.
I am not one to refuse my effort.
I am not going to start tonight.
What I mean to say is that it can be painful the way life will hurl us in the direction of our destiny, even under brutal circumstances and in perfectly awkward and downright uncomfortable positions. It is so easy to feel like we’ve been run over by the Bad Luck Bus, and like we’re never getting up and never going anywhere ever again. Or, at least it feels easy to me.
But, dammit. Life doesn’t want it that way. It wants us good and bloody and tired and staring down our path with haggard breathing, AND YET. Try again. Try some more.
“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.” -T.S. Eliot
Try. Try again. Try some more.