I have many friends who are going through epic things in their lives- huge family and marital challenges, cancer, death, moving cross country, babies coming too early. On a larger scale there is the possibility of making war more widespread than it already is. I'm sure I'm picking up on quite a bit of that. But in my own personal life. . . I don't know. I'm having some health challenges that have necessitated setting aside our homeschool groups for a few weeks at least. Life has slowed down, and I have been challenged to see what is the MOST important in my life and make specific time for that. Which has been a challenge. Also learning to actually really and truly take care of myself. I'm slowly making progress with that one (which is a positive way of saying that I kinda suck at it. But I'm not saying that. ;) ) I have realized, I can ALWAYS make myself busy and come up with more things to stress out about having to do even when I'm staying home and not going anywhere. I only have the energy for a few things, though, so I have to really decide (UGH! I want to do it ALL!) That laundry list of things I've always thought I need to do but didn't have the time because I wasn't home constantly. Yeah, had to toss that after I noticed that I was making myself worse and was ADDING things to my days that were sucking up my energy but really didn't matter that much right here at this moment. I have been learning to be slower, to reduce my time multi-tasking, to eliminate things that aren't either true necessities or bring us a crazy amount of joy. (Most of those things on my list were not happiness-inducing. They were there because I thought I needed to be doing them to be doing "enough". Which is a whole other post on its own!) Still, though, there's been this feeling inside of me calling me to step out beyond fear, to march forward bravely, to be heroic. To stand on a mountain with my hands on my hips, taking a deep breath with the golden sun shining on me just so, butterflies trying to burst out of my stomach and about to leap off into the perilous unknown. How on earth could my current life be epic?
This epicness has been going on for close to a month now. At times I feel so close to victory. At times I feel that all is lost and there is no possible way to win. Intense, intense, intense. And again I've wondered, how could my life possibly be epic? How could what I'm feeling actually apply to my life right here, right now?
Merriam-Webster lists these as part of the definition of epic:
~telling a story about a hero or about exciting events or adventures
~very great or large and usually difficult or impressive
~extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope
I got to thinking, what about the people who are the subject of Hallmark films or documentaries or biographies? I wonder if they realized right at the start that they were destined for big things or if it just happened as they set one foot in front of the other? I wonder if they looked at the choices they made one day and realized they were changing the entire course of their lives; lives that would go on to inspire others? I wonder if they thought of themselves or their choices as unimportant just to look back in 30, 40, 50 years to realize that they had played a really important part in one life or many lives or the history of the world.
So, could my life be epic right now because the choices that are in front of me, needing to be made will shape my life in a way I couldn't have imagined? Are they going to redirect my life, put me on a completely different trajectory? Will I look back on my life and see that this moment in time was pivotal even though I couldn't see why at the time? And if so, maybe it would be helpful to take the choices before me a bit more seriously? Instead of brushing them off like I have for many, many years and continuing to ignore them; what if right now I took a stand for what is REALLY important in my life, what I feel deeply called to do, what I pray I don't die before doing?
A sidestep here to my goats. We have to tie them up because they like to rub up against the fence in the bird yard and if they keep at it they're going to destroy it in short order, among other reasons like not having a proper fence to keep them in. (If it won't hold water it won't hold a goat!) As long as we put them and their house in an area with lots of good stuff to munch they're happy. Or so I thought. We've had them near the ducks and their pond to deter foxes. But they've pretty much eaten everything there is to eat.
So with that in mind, in the middle of all of these epic feelings, I've been checking in- am I getting what I want here? Am I upset because things have changed too much but really I have more of what I want? And what DO I want anyway? (Kind of important to know if I'm trying to recognize if I'm getting it!) Hmm. I want the time and space to do what I feel directed to do for ME (write and paint), while still being able to take care of my health (no more "either write and paint OR sleep"), and supporting my family and enjoying life with them while still meeting their needs and helping them get what they want. Is that happening right now? Heck no. CAN in happen in the way we've been living our lives? I don't see how. It's been hard enough fitting in actually taking care of me without adding time to create, and things had to change to get us to the place where I could do that. Tonight I'm sacrificing sleep again because I absolutely had to get this out so I can move on.
If this is indeed an epic time, then epic changes are likely on the way. I'm not a big fan of change, but I am ready to stand firm with courage to change my little part of the world into a place where we all, even the mama, can thrive. And maybe I'll look back and realize it was the most important thing I could have done. It's taking a whole lot of fear conquering, a lot of walking down dark and uncomfortable streets, a lot of letting go of the things I thought I needed with me. It's taking the courage to walk into the completely unknown, following the light of my heart that says it's time to let it shine and that all the world will be better for it even though voices scream to the contrary. It's taking getting up and moving forward again after I've been knocked down and feel like giving up. It's taking trusting that this is big and is important enough to strive for, even though on the surface it may seem petty and pathetic. I haven't placed much worth on myself for most of my life, but it's time to now. It's vital now. It really, truly matters. *I* really, truly matter.
And step forward once again.