In these cold winter months, life continues to move gently in our home. The kids are at school, each trying to make sense of what they are learning. Wondering about where they want to end up. Challenging the new understandings that are emerging as they study and ponder on the material presented to them by both their teachers and their experiences. Dreaming about warmer days when they will be free to roam on their own, chasing their dreams and their yearnings without anyone else’s agendas and schedules. Oh, don’t we all yearn for that. Yearn for a time when we can loose ourselves to our dreams and our passions. Times we allow ourselves to imagine that life can be just a little bit different, just a little bit better, just a little bit gentler.
My dog has an infection in her ear. She has had infections for as long as we have had her. I ended up taking her to the vet to get things checked. I had tried for weeks to keep her clean and medicated. Trying new recipes to clear her ears. Trying to be diligent about keeping her ears dry and clean. But she is a dog. She is a golden retriever who loves water. A dog who loves to go for hikes with my husband. A dog who loves to jump into the lake no matter how cold the water is, no matter how bad her ears can get. And so, she returns from her hikes wet and stinky, and with her ears beet red and itchy. And I can’t really stop her, because she is a dog who loves to swim. And what is the point of being a dog if you can’t have fun swimming and fetching sticks, even if your ears get sore. I am learning a lot from her. About keeping a balance between what is healthy and ‘good’ for me, and what my soul yearns for. Too much of ‘being careful’ can kill my soul. I need to allow it to swim, even if it’s ears hurt afterwards.
And so, I look for that balance between what I must do, and what I want to do. Feeling the expectations that are laid upon me by myself and by my roles. What I am expected to do because I am a mom, a teacher, a friend, a citizen, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a woman – and what I yearn to do. Realizing that these are not mutually exclusive, that my roles are also within my realm of choice. Freed by the inkling that these expectations in my roles ebb and flow along with my yearnings.
And as I realize this, I feel profoundly thankful for my life. For the gifts that have come along the way, inviting me to be all those roles. Summoning me to be challenged by the uncomfortable places that those roles bring along. Allowing me to grow and discover myself in different ways. Discovering elements that are so much bigger than who I am or what I yearn. Realizing that I am a part of a much bigger story, a story that calls me to live out my longings for a gentler and better place. Making it possible to act on these yearnings each day within the roles that I am wearing.
Therefore, I allow myself to yearn and dream. I look for those subtle places where my dreams and my duties overlap. I look forward to those times, knowing that they always come – even in the midst of winter.