Yesterday, I was talking to my sister about the opportunity for some new work. I had been waiting to hear what would unfold this week and I was feeling the tension of waiting. I told her that I was sensing there was something else stirring…something besides just the waiting. I told her it felt as if a very personal question was inside of me, one that sounded something like “and what is it YOU really, really want?”
Just then, my little sister stopped me in my tracks. She asked, “can you learn anything about the answer from your word of the year?” Brilliant.
I sat with it.
You might remember that my 2010 word is restoring. My first response to her question was very literal; I spoke of how the opportunity would restore our finances in new ways, it would revive my work in new directions. I spoke of how I hoped my self-caring could stay strong and solid even in the midst of long hours and lots of extra traveling.
And then, I found the center, the core of this very personal question rising up in me. My heart was/is yearning to restore my vision for my work. The vision that it’s possible to do change-making, care-giving work…and still have a life that is flourishing and sustaining. I believe with all my being that this is possible. It has to be. There is too much work to be done, too many injustices to face, too many shelters to keep open and meals to offer and fundraising to do. The work and the world need us, as caregivers and advocates and counselors to continue showing up. Surely we can figure out life-sustaining ways to do this work so that our lives as providers are healthy and vibrant, big and wide. It doesn’t mean that they will be perfect or that we’ll ever be millionaires. It doesn’t mean we’ll never have doubts, compassion fatigue, or sabbaticals. It will still be messy. But isn’t it possible to be sustaining?
I think even though I believe this is possible, my truth lately has been that I sometimes am not always sure of the ways of doing it.
And then I got teary.
And I knew I had come to the core of the tension. It wasn’t about waiting to hear about the opportunity. It was about connecting with my own question.
And it has everything to do with my word of the year. My word can guide me forward in this, whether with this particular work or other projects. It’s time to restore my vision. To go back to the foundation, the belief, the practices big and small, the testing and experimenting, the discussing and evaluating.
Little sisters can be brilliant, can’t they?