“We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us,” Joseph Campbell. I’m revisiting this quote as events have brought it back into my life. Letting go is rarely easy. The weight of the meaningless trifles we carry can bury us and we will still pretend we are moving right along. Letting go of something we have attached ourselves to, whether literally or figuratively, is even harder. Now it has meaning. It isn’t just about proving the point that we can carry heavy things, this becomes about identifying with it. Once our identity is woven into the vision we have, letting it go becomes terrifying and painful. And we have to do it anyway. Life has a way of making that mandatory, especially for the things we attach to.
Not to drone like a broken record, but I have endured a lot in these last few months. Unidentified gastric issues, liver issues, cervical polyps and two procedures to remove them, ovarian cysts, a pregnancy, the loss of that pregnancy, losing one of our dogs, putting our house up for sale, searching for a new home, shifting job roles. All of this while maintaining my work, keeping my business going, and being a mother and wife. I thank God every day that I have been strong enough to endure—but I feel like that’s all I’m doing—enduring. I feel like I have failed. I know I am blessed and I don’t exclude myself from the normal tribulations of life but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t heavy. It feels like I am merely existing, a shell, an empty presence.
I attached myself to the idea of what I thought this life would be. I never expected it to be smooth sailing the entire way, I just didn’t expect a storm quite like this. As a child I envisioned having the dream job (never knew what it would be), a home, a husband, a family, traveling. I envisioned friends and family around me. I’ve also come face to face with the demons at the core of who I am. I’ve felt a steadily increasing loneliness creeping into my life and I see my role in it. I saw the life I wanted and thought it would be given to me—I didn’t match my actions to the vision.
It is entirely humbling to watch your life be at stake and to get it back only to lose your footing on where you’re at. Each of these events has made me dive deeply into who I am and, as I’ve peeled back the onion, I see there isn’t one defining aspect to my personality. In fact, as I have lost those pieces of me, I’m not sure I ever knew who I was let alone who I will be. As heavy as this is, I am grateful because I can put it down. I can honor who I was and understand the things I did without carrying them with me. I can let go of what I thought I would be. Yes, it’s a loss. It hurts. But it’s also cleansing. The act of losing creates space for what is meant to be.
There are few things in life we can write down and commit to when it comes to the overall trajectory of our story. We can’t know all of the events that happen and we can’t always know how they will shape us. Life isn’t meant to be planned—it’s meant to be experienced. It’s the greatest trust fall there is. You just have to jump and do it and allow the pieces to fall into place and try to understand it is for some reason. I know that my life’s purpose is about more than enduring pain. This is just a tough season for me and I will come out of this. Maybe the purpose is simply to share, to find a way to reconnect with myself and with others in a genuine way. Maybe it’s to garner a deeper appreciation for what I have. Maybe it’s the foundation for the life I can’t see yet. But I won’t know until I let go and make peace with what is no longer here.