Thursday, July 25, 2013

Everyday Life: Because Sometimes You Need to Know You are Strong Again

I went anyway.

The day before I was supposed to head down to the city for a little pre-Blogher girls' night, my relatively new MacBook faced serious injury to its motherboard.

I'll save you the details, but I left the Genius Bar at the Apple store crying.

Because $750 to fix it after this year's medical bills?

Also? Could I just get a break here? I mean really? I wanted to explain to all the gawking people at the store that I wasn't crying because of a computer but rather it was just the apple that broke the camel's back.

I had deduced through tears as we approached the car outside the store the morning before we were supposed to leave, that spending money on a girls' night just seemed irresponsible and improbable.

But a good friend told me to come anyway. To not worry about paying for part of the hotel and parking because she and our other friend were going and staying anyway, and she really wanted me to come. And isn't that what friends do for each other?

Help each other out? Be gracious to each other?

So I went. And the night itself with my friends was lovely and hilarious and the baby snuggles from her little guy salved over the heart in ways I didn't know I needed.

I rode in on goodwill and I stayed because I knew I needed to trust that I didn't need to be in control. These things that seem easy to most people -- going overnight to Chicago, navigating city streets and public transportation, trying to find physical balance as I walk through highly stimulating places -- remain challenging for me. I'm still healing from nerve damage that effects my hearing and balance. I'm still healing from overwhelming anxiety. I'm still grieving our baby. And I'm still being sifting. These things in this season don't come easy. 

This morning after our girls' night I woke up wobbly and with plans to take the Metra train home before the BlogeHer 13 weekend officially started. I sold my ticket a month ago because, you know, I just didn't know if I was strong enough to go.

I didn't know if I could physically handle the constant movement because of the balance issues I've had, and I didn't know if I could handle it emotionally because I'm just now starting to regain my mental strength the miscarriage and corresponding anxiety and grief had sucked out of me.

I didn't want to be at zero again after the weekend was over, giving the kind of attention required to be social and genuine at such a large conference

As I packed up to leave the city before festivities began, I silently asked God for the strength to navigate Union Station and get home.

And then we got lost on Lower Wacker Drive driving to the train station and we ended up going straight to O'hare Airport to pick up two bloggers who were flying in for BlogHer.

Instead of heading back into the city via car and getting dropped off at Union Station so I could catch a train all the way back out to the suburbs, I got out at O'Hare, determining I could manage to get home from there.

Complications like a lack of cash and such left me sitting in the airport pondering if I should ask my husband to pack up the boys and drive 40 minutes to fetch me.

But something inside of me groaned at the thought and I felt a tug, challenging me to navigate the public transportation despite my fear of public transportation navigation fails.

Because, you know, sometimes you need to know you are stronger than you think you are.

I tracked down an ATM, found my long lost ATM card and then found my way to the Blue Line so I could transfer to the Metra train and get back to the suburbs. 

I asked a lot of people a lot of questions, but I figured it out.

Satisfied, I sat down on the Blue Line train as it readied to leave and found I'd missed a ton of calls and texts from my husband and father-in-law, who insisted that I get off that train and go wait upstairs for him to come get me because traveling alone and walking to train stations in unfamiliar neighborhoods didn't seem to him like the best idea while still struggling with balance issues. 

I thought for a second about declining and powering through. 

But just like it's important to realize you are stronger than you think, sometimes it's even more important to realize strength doesn't always look like muscling up.  Sometimes strength looks like accepting love from the people who love you most.

After I got in the car, my father-in-law asked why I didn't just call in the first place; I explained I wanted to prove to myself that I simply could after these past seven months of relying on others and feeling like I wasn't capable of doing much anything by myself. 

It was a beautiful realization to know again that if I needed to, I could do it.  

But it was even more lovely to understand that even though I could power through, I didn't have to. I could accept love and giving even when I wasn't at the end of my rope; even when I was "strong" enough to power through. 

I also confessed that I don't like inconveniencing other people.

"But you're my daughter ... And you're irreplaceable. The only thing you tore me away from way cutting the grass. And that will be there when I get back," he said.

So I rode into the city on the graciousness of friends

and I rode out on the graciousness of love from the family God gave me, finding paradoxal strength and freedom in being capable and being cared for

and being both at the same time. 


  1. I understand this completely! Completely!

  2. There is strength in the doing and strength in the accepting help from others. And I do believe you are very strong indeed. Peace to you.


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