When You’re Sinking Fast

Aug 6 2014

Oh, friends.

When we sink, we sure can sink fast, can’t we?

Like lead.

Just a slip off the ship or a trip at the edge of the cliff and, with a splash, KAPLOOSH, we’re on our way to the depths, stone tied to ankle, confused and plummeting down and down and down into the water, wondering if we’re done for.

…Or we sink so slowly we don’t even realize we’re under water until we can’t find breath. That happens, too.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter how quickly we sink, does it? We die without oxygen either way, whether we’re just barely beneath the surface or in the darkest waters.

I hope you’ll bear with me here. I know I’m usually a Pollyanna-style optimist with a side of sass and sarcasm, goofy and grubby in life and in writing, but I’m burdened today with the sorrow of friends who are suffering, so this will tend more toward the grit and grime and, perhaps, by the end, if we’re lucky, to the good again.

In the last two days, you opened up your hearts to your fellow mamas in the wild. You were honest. Transparent. Sweet and sad. Lovely and lonely. Hurting and hopeful. You wrote that you are frustrated. You wrote that you are angry. You wrote that you feel stuck. You wrote that you’re grateful. You wrote wondering if it ever gets better. You wrote to say that it does. And your vulnerability was a gift to us all; to us, the people of the wilderness who are searching for the Village and holding hands in the dark until we get there. 

At the same time you were writing your words of transparency and truth, friends in my small town were processing the sudden and surprising loss of one of the Mama Tribe to circumstances we don’t yet – and may never – understand. 

And so I’ve spent the last few days pondering what it means to be part of this messy, muddy, magical mystery that is life. Pondering how few firm answers we have. Pondering how to be a deeper community. A more inclusive whole. A safer sanctuary. And better friends. 

We’re just so tired sometimes, aren’t we? So tired and done in. And some days the negative thoughts win. And we’re so hard on ourselves to boot. The grace we so easily give to others is so hard to accept on our own behalf.

I’ve suspected for a long time that this feeling or fear of not being enough is less about us and our ability to be all things to all people and is far more about our desperate need for community. For come-unity. For belonging. For being a part of a bigger whole. For being loved. For being valued. For being viewed as precious. Important. Worthy. Irreplaceable. Our feelings of inadequacy, I bet, are trying to tell us we need each other. 

I don’t have any answers for us today, except to say that you are, friends, deeply worthy of limitless love. Of extraordinary value. 

And I’ll end with words of wisdom from our community here, because they’re important to share. 

From G Arrow:

We are enough, my people, we are. This day we have done our best, no matter how much milk we have left. No matter that we told the kids to knock it off or cuddled them or shut a door and wept. No matter how much money we have or how little. And I tell you and myself, we are magnificent, … we are mighty as we curl up on dark nights and wait for the light of another dawn that somehow always comes. We have carried so much, have lost so much, have been stripped and have died over and over, have drowned and somehow found new lungs. We are a force, all of us.

And paraphrased from Mary:

Hang in there, friends. And yell at the moon. 

With love, truly,