How Are You Doing It?

While visiting with a friend the other day she said, "You've been through a lot this year. How are you doing it?"

I paused and had to think. Losing loved ones, changing jobs, grieving, uncertainty, insecurity...this just seems to be the stuff of life. But since it is the stuff of my life, she really seemed to want to know. 

I often think about the fights I heard about lack of money growing up. I think of single moms and military families split apart, I think of sudden death and chronic illness and horrible truths that are not mine, and I find there is a weird solace in knowing it could be worse. I am embarrassed by this so I push it aside completely aware that pushing is not removing. But in order for me to do, I cannot linger there.

I take one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

It helps to submerge myself in little moments like the sound of my son giggling or watching my daughter disappear into her sketchpad. It helps that Big Man makes me coffee every morning and paints whimsical farm animals simply for fun. It helps to have dreams and to cling to them, even if they must be deferred for just a bit.

It helps, really, to know that it is a god-awful winter which sets the scene so perfectly. It makes me feel like a prize fighter for all I have done. I have written! I have loved! I have shared my heart and not been refused! I have walked when I didn't want to, I have told the truth when it was hard, and I have let so much go! I have given away the hurt and pain and disappointment to make room for the good stuff though it seems like the good stuff is long in coming. I have maintained a conversation with my dead father-in-law, a man who could make me so mad I could spit, because I know his steady hand and practical eye would call all of this as it is and, wonder of all wonders, I have listened to him!

The right thing will come along, he says to me right before sleep. Go back to school, Lisa. That sounds great. Moving the kids? Yes, it would be hard, but they'll be fine. They have both of you. And how great this time is. I wish I would have taken more time with my kids when they were that age. Bob's doing great. I hope the kids remember this.

By god, I am doing it! That is what I think most of the time. I used to hate that Yoda quote, "Do or not do, there is no try." I would get hung up on my understanding of try and do until it finally clicked that the actions I take are the doing no matter how elegant the execution. Once I stopped labeling and categorizing my perceptions of how well I did, I understood that it is all action.

By god, I AM doing it. I get up. Sometimes that in and of itself is hard, but I get up. I cry. I walk or lift weights and I write and I make sandwiches and I write some more and I read and I plan and I let go of plans and I drink wine and I think and I drive my kids from here to there and I wash dishes and I kiss my husband and I laugh and I worry and I give myself time to be upset and I know every moment leads to another and I do like we all do. 

I am doing now the way I have done this whole year. It is nothing special, but it is real and true and most importantly, it is mine. 


  1. How about you? What is a key to doing for you?

  2. I sure hope your Big Man lands somewhere soon. Somewhere not TOO far away. We just don't want to go to anyone else.


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