Impossible Feats

Blog your Heart

Following Stephanie's lead, Untitled
I am blogging my heart tonight—writing what I am really pondering, without much of an attempt at filtering my thoughts.

Friday was an adventure. Kendell and I went on a 35-mile-long drive on a dirt road in the mountains, with views like this:

Spr fall no3

and it was such a perfect day. The weather, the drive, our conversation, the two tiny hikes we veered off on. Seeing the place where I grew up from an entirely different perspective, which made me feel like I'd found a lost piece of myself. When we got out of the mountains we stopped by my mom's so I could pick up the antique sewing machine that belonged to my great grandma Amy, whom I am named for but never met, and there is something, just something I can't name yet, about having it here in my house. (Even though I haven't found a permanent place for it yet.)

It was a perfect day.

But when I went to bed I found myself terrified. Terrified. Imagining over and over what bad things might happen in the morning. Jake & Nathan were both off on a scout camp out, which always makes me anxious anyway, so I was conjuring up horrible accidents for them both. Picturing Kaleb falling off his bike and Haley getting in a car accident and Kendell's heart valve crumbling away. And other, darker images. A montage of all my deepest fears kept me from sleeping. I was certain, certain that having such a perfect day was something I shouldn't have experienced because soon I'd have to pay for it with something as monstrously opposite as possible.

And I hate that I feel that way.

I think it shows some of my weaknesses. That deeply-rooted belief that the really good things are the providence of other people. A lack of faith. An inability to feel that I deserve perfect days. It reminds me, strangely enough, of my mom, who is almost 70 years old and still wants to lose a few pounds. When I hear her talking about dieting, it makes me sad. Isn't there ever a time when we are old enough to simply be happy with who we are? It makes me wonder. When we can relax and breathe and feel comfortable in our own skin? (Even if it is wrinkled.) The same goes for me: when will I be old enough to cast off the old belief that I am not good enough to deserve the bone-deep, blissed-out, surprisingly gentle happiness my day in the woods brought me? Or that I should hold on to what is hard, rub my tongue over it as if it were a sore tooth, savor its bitterness as a sort of protection against other, harder things?

When I woke up this morning, I took a deep breath. I remembered those two feelings: the certainty of doom, the brightness of joy. I held them both in my heart, and then I tried to let go of the fear that had troubled my sleep. I can't say I let it all go. I still worried my way through the day; I still exhaled hard when the boys got home from their camp out, dirty and smelly and full of stories; safe. But I tried to let the other wash in behind, the light in the trees, the sound of boots shushing through fallen leaves and tires over gravelly dirt, the new perspective. Tried hard to believe it would be OK.

And it was.


Claire T

It is hard to accept the happiness. My grandmother was still dieting in her 90s so I wonder if we ever truly gain that acceptance of ourselves. I am glad that you had such a wonderful day in a beautiful spot and that your boys came home happy and healthy.

Stephanie Howell

i have so much fear. it's something i struggle with constantly. i know that paralyzing feeling and i'm sorry you feel it too. sending you big hugs,my friend.xoxo

Stephanie B.

I hope that you can find peace in the perfect days and accept them as such! Prayers for you!

Kasandra Mathieson

I love your writing....this is so beautiful, like poetry....and it makes me think. Why can't we deeply, truly accept joy with no reservations? Even if it's just for fleeting moments? Why can't we love being Mary and stop being Martha's?

Keshet Starr

I can't tell you how much I needed to read this! I really struggle with fear, with imagining bad things happening when I'm too (what's with that? can there be a "too"!) happy.

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