“Everything is a miracle. It’s a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar” – Pablo Picasso
A month or so ago, my absolute favourite blogger in the entire world announced that she’d be opening her website up to guest submissions. Glennon Melton blogs at Momastery. Her words are so incredibly moving, amusing, inspirational and thought-provoking that two years ago when I first discovered Momastery, I spent every spare moment over the course of about two weeks devouring every single word of each and every post she’d written in the preceding four years. Like chocolate cake for my soul. I laughed and cried and changed how I viewed womankind.
It was Glennon’s words that inspired me to start sharing my own thoughts via my blog, nearly eighteen months ago. At first it seemed a ridiculous idea. Who would possibly be interested in anything I have to say, anyway? Why would anybody care about my rambling ideas on life? And anyway, there are so many amazing blogs and incredible writers out there. I couldn’t possibly measure up.
But then I remembered reading something that Glennon had shared on Facebook. I can’t recall the exact quote but it was along the lines of “I will not let that which I cannot do stop me from doing what I can.”
As I sit here, having stared at a blank screen for a while, I’m reminding myself of this advice. The thought of one of my posts sharing a page on Momastery feels a bit like being thrust on stage with Beyonce Knowles and told to harmonise, when you’ve only ever sung out loud in the car and even then your children told you to pipe down as they couldn’t hear One Direction over your caterwauling.
Starting my blog was scary and daunting but I did it anyway.
There will always be someone better at something than me. And you, too. There will be more inspiring writers, better dancers, funnier raconteurs. There will certainly be better singers. But, do you know what? I think we should sing anyway. Dance anyway. Write anyway. Just…. do it anyway.
Because someone, somewhere needs to hear your song, to feel your music. They need you to make them smile today. Or start a conversation. Or lend a shaky hand. Other people might be better qualified. More polished. More confident than you. Do it anyway. Smile at somebody. Make eye contact. Say hello. Do it anyway.
But, but… what if you’re not enough? Just…do it anyway.
Life is hard. Harder for some than others. Weathering storms makes us more grateful for calmer waters when they eventually arrive. We learn to somehow stay afloat. Sometimes by clinging on for dear life to the nearest buoyant object, thrashing about and gasping for air. But what if each storm is pushing us forward? Teaching us to swim and not sink? To use our survival skills to build a raft? A raft to lift others out of the depths, to offer sanctuary and somewhere safe and dry for those who are frantically treading water behind us?
It’s connection that keeps us going. Support from others when we can barely stand, nevermind swim.
The woman you see at the school gates…. the one who never makes eye contact or smiles? Smile at her anyway. You don’t know what she’s going through. Make space on the raft.
And the competitive parent? The one who seems to be passing judgement on you and your child-rearing skills with her every utterance? Take a deep breath and remind yourself that she is struggling, too; There’s space on the raft. There’s always room for one more.
The only way I can think of to teach my children to be compassionate, kind and caring individuals is to lead by example. I can’t change the world, but as I’ve said many times before on my blog, I can create small ripples. A smile, a hello, or some words of encouragement might be all I can offer at times. This might seem futile given the pain and sorrow that so many endure on a daily basis. But I’ll do it anyway. It may not seem enough, but I’ll do it anyway. Those who don’t smile back may well be the ones who need smiles the most, you see. Smile anyway.
I very nearly didn’t write this post. I couldn’t think of anything that seemed worthy of sharing. Anything good enough. But, guess what? I’m doing it anyway.