So let me tell you about our Amish weekend. To get around all this new allergy stuff, we bought a bread maker and ice cream maker, since most bread and ice cream is made in a nut facility and therefore no longer safe for Gabriel to eat. While we were cracking jokes about our new back-to-the-basics lifestyle (we’ll be raising goats in our backyard and hauling our laundry down to the river next), the kids were having a field day battling each other with Styrofoam swords (a.k.a. packing materials).
Ever notice how quickly your kids can take whatever’s lying around and turn it into a weapon? The scary thing is that Nico and Gabriel sounded exactly like Beavis and Butthead here, with the same crazy giggles.
Anyway, all this battling got me thinking about the whole acceptance/denial piece, which, let’s face it, has been a major stumbling block around here lately. Especially with Ken’s dad getting worse, Gabriel’s whole nut thing, and both of our escalated stress levels. It’s been especially hard on Ken, whose chronic illness has taken an unusually hard hit this time around. It’s not been so great on me, either, as you can tell from my last few oh-so-cheery posts.
Fact is, I’ve spent way too much time fighting each new yucky thing that’s come my way. Which is kind of my default mode whenever I’m pushed into deep and yucky waters. (Hmm, is it any accident that the book I’m working on is called House of Defiance?)
Alas, there’s often a better way, and this time around I’m pretty sure it’s called acceptance. The good news is that most of us are in the same boat when it comes to accepting the not-so-wonderful events in our lives. Check out this passage from Kathryn Black‘s book, Mothering Without a Map:
Nietzsche…came to believe that each of us must embrace our fate entirely if we are to be happy. He thought that when life’s traumas lead to bitterness and anger, when a person feels cheated and deprived, then life is not appreciated for what it is but despised for what it is not. The antidote against letting resentment act like a cancer on one’s spirit, he said, is to love one’s fate, all of it, not just the joys and pleasures but the pain as well….
Jung expressed this same idea when he said that a complete life isn’t a theoretical or ideal completeness, but an acceptance, without reservation, of “the particular tissue in which one finds oneself embedded, and that one tries to make sense of it or to create a cosmos from the chaotic mess into which one is born.” (Black, 158)
If only it was that easy, right? Black herself acknowledges that Nietzsche “expressed the hardest task of life (158).” Accepting our lives as they are might just be the hardest thing we can do. But it’s also essential.
I’m going to see Sheryl Crow tonight. Her classic hit, “Everyday is a Winding Road,” pretty much nails it, don’t you think?
Every day is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Every day is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine