Living through years of infertility taught me an invaluable lesson. And truth-be-told, I continue to learn it just as, if not more profoundly as a parent:
Much that happens (or doesn’t) is not in my control.
The strength of my desire does not alter this reality one iota. The endless spinning in my brain to understand the “why” does not change what’s true. My dissociation and/or denial does not mitigate surrender’s incessant demand. But still I fuss and fight! I desire more. I visualize and dream and plot and plan. I think harder. I analyze everything. I labor and strain.
Nothing moves. Nothing changes. At least not in the way I want.
I am required to loosen my grip, to let go.
Not of my dreams or desire and never of hope, but of the outcome, the timing, the particulars, my certainty, my dogmatism, my stubborn belief that I am in control.
This is the challenge, yes? To do good work without guarantee of impact (or income). To write without demand of publication (or perfection). To be creative without fear of critique. To love without requirement of its return. To dream and dream and dream without promise of its waking-fulfillment. Yes, this is the challenge…and… it’s also our deepest calling.
We must let go and hold on at the same time. It is the tension between the two that is the nature of our journey, that does – endlessly and always – compel our growth and transformation, that is the incontrovertible evidence of the sacred in our midst.
How else are we to understand our capacity to hope in the midst of despair, to find light in darkness, to get out of bed despite overwhelming grief, to see beauty and hear music and feel wind and drink coffee and eat chocolate and ever, ever laugh? How else are we to explain the fact that we have survived, that our hearts have continued to beat, that still we continue to dream and desire and yes, love?
In admitting that there is much over which we have no control, we do let go. And in letting go we realize that there is much worth holding on to, even more, that we are worth holding onto.
It is in letting go that we are able to hold on to ourselves. And that, amazingly enough, we can control!
May it be so.