It’s dark outside today. And dark inside for that matter. It’s raining so hard that it pours in through the chimney and makes me want to crawl back under the covers and try again tomorrow.
Is it just me, or does everything feel harder on a day like today? It’s harder to get up. It’s harder to get dressed. It’s harder to fix lunch or put on makeup…which would explain why I’m starving on the couch, my hair falling out of a bun from last night, and I am dressed in my workout clothes. No, I didn’t work out. But these clothes are really comfy!
And today there’s a note on my mirror about Potential. That’s a loaded word. When I was 5 years old we tap danced to a song, singing along, “I am a promise. I am a possibility. I am a Promise, with a capital P. I am a great, big bundle of Potentiality.” And I believed it. I was special. So special, in fact, that I can absolutely relate to this kid who announced that sprinkles came out of her bottom. (Do you read Momastery? You should, she’s crazier than I am!)
This weekend I saw the movie Won’t Back Down about a parent and teacher who fight to take over a failing school so they can turn it around. And usually movies like that inspire me. I have potential! I can make a difference! I’ll be the change I want to see, I mean I poo sprinkles! But then a day like today rolls around and I can barely manage to put on clothes, much less live up to my full potential. Because surely my potential is greater than skinny jeans and fabulous boots. (Although, the upside to a day like today is boots and scarves!)
But the rest of that note about potential on my mirror says, “for today.”
Potential for today.
Is there potential for my one wild and precious life? Absolutely. But sometimes that potential just becomes overwhelming and stifling instead of motivating and encouraging. And in those moments I need to be reminded that sometimes it’s enough to look for the potential in just one day. One hour. One moment. I’m 32 years old and I’m still not exactly sure what I’m going to do with my life. But I can sure decide what I’m going to do with today. (And not in a Carpe Diem kind of way–the one that suggests every moment should be full of ecstasy and rainbows and butterflies. But in a “if I focus too much on the mountain, the distance, and the obstacles ahead of me I’ll quit now, so I better just keep finding the motivation to put one foot in front of the other” kind of way.)
But then it’s more than just survival too. It becomes about finding the possibility in every moment.
Can I walk through one more season of transition in jobs, in relationships, in routine, in homes, in life? Some days it doesn’t feel like it.
But I can make one step towards who I want to be and what I want to do. I can get dressed and brush my hair. Send one email and say one, “I’m sorry.” Seek to understand before I seek to be understood.
Can you make it through the next 18 years of laundry piled 6 loads high, a house full of clutter, diaper changes, carpool, and spaghetti for dinner again, just to crash in bed at night? Sometimes that sounds impossible.
But maybe start by washing one more dish, saying yes to one more story, noticing the softness of her hair, and the curiosity in his voice.
Can you survive the next 7 months on the mission field? 7 more months of bucket showers, fleas, ugali, African internet, and Tica bus rides? I don’t know. (And I apologize if I’ve just made you wonder!)
But you can make it through today. You can enjoy the sunrise, the mangos from a stand, and the snotty nosed kid who wants one more piggy back ride.
Can you climb the Everest that’s in front of you today? Nope. It’s gonna take awhile.
But maybe it’s not so much about making it to the top of Everest after all. Maybe it’s more about what you choose one moment at a time.
There is Potential just for today. Maybe start there.
I’ll be eating potato soup at Panera if you need me.