We can choose to be perfect and admired, or to be real and loved. -Glennon Doyle Melton
She announced her pregnancy to the blogging world with one photo. Her husband, who held an uncanny resemblance to a Ken doll, was juggling their 3 year old twin daughters in their matching dresses while she coincidentally let out a flattering laugh. In her manicured hands she held the string to a giant golden balloon in the shape of a five, indicating their family size was about to grow. It was precious, really. But I have to admit the subtle sinking of my stomach as I noted the stark contrast of her life and mine.
This was sparked by the empty side of my bed. Or I guess ’empty’ wouldn’t be completely accurate because most of the time it is filled with random travel books, last week’s half eaten snack that I haven’t yet thrown out, and my bra that I’m still not quite sure how often I’m supposed to wash.
I am convinced my life is accurately depicted by the cluttered side of the bed- without much sense, order, or those cute Pottery Barn throw pillows. All this isn’t a horrible reality for me to accept, but there are moments, especially while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, that I sense a growing hint of uncertainly if I would be happier had I filled my life up differently.
But my uncertainty echoes hers as I am reminded of the myriad of comments she and many of my other married friends have said regarding their envy of my life. They see pictures of me hiking the basecamp of Mount Everest, eating Nigerian caterpillars, cycling the forests of Germany, chasing (or being chased by) sheep in New Zealand. In their eyes the world is my gumball and I’ve never had the fear of choking.
But trust me, I have the fear of choking. I am as uncertain as they are.
Too often, I stare at someone else’s still life photographs and disregard the complexity of their life as if I am the only flawed and doubting individual in this messy existence. But I am becoming increasingly convinced, no one is immune to self-doubt, or to the shreds of unfulfilled pieces within our hungry souls. We are all missing something. Even with God, even with families, even with the right flavor of our favorite ice cream, we can never have it all, nor can we ever be completely fulfilled in this life. Oddly enough, this is our gift!
We are made hungry and bare so we turn to other people and to a belief in a higher power. Our emptiness and uncertainty forces us to connect in search of opportunities to fill and to be filled. The greatest tragedy, would be pretending to be whole or to assume everyone else is, because it pushes us away from what we crave most-connection to people who will love us beyond our accomplishments or our nibbled on pop-tart still stuck to our bedside table.
Art Courtesy of Beth Hoeckel