James posted on Facebook that his beautiful daughter was in a terrible car accident. She fought bravely for a week but made her transition on Friday. My heart is broken for James and his family.
His daughter is about the same age as both my girls, and when I read the post, I felt fear well up along with the tears I shed on his behalf. I couldn’t help but think about my girls, about the fragility of this existence, and like all mothers I thought, “What if that were my child?”
My youngest has her own car and is enjoying some hard-won freedom. My oldest is on the other side of the country at college. She’s so, so, far away and exposed to the elements, late nights, young men, drinking, and…
…if I let my imagination off the leash I would be paralyzed with fear.
So, I breathe and lean into the fear, rather than away from it.
My inner Wisdom Woman knows that fear is a test of faith, faith that the Universe loves us despite of the fact that bad things happen to the innocent every day.
I lean into the knowledge that I’m not in charge of what happens to my children, that the bigger part of themselves has laid a path ahead, and I have absolute faith in their spirits and developing inner Wisdom Women.
I lean into the reality that every single moment is precious, and I remind myself often that there’s no time for anger, bad feelings, and resentments. There literally isn’t time.
There isn’t time for fear, either. Because if I’m living in fear then I’ll miss the beauty of watching them flourish in their lives and I’ll impinge on the freedom of living my own life to the fullest.
So, I didn’t tell Jillian to be careful while driving and I didn’t tell Brooke not to go out that night with her friends because this horrible thing happened to James’ daughter and it could happen to them too. That wouldn’t be fair, and it would sow the seeds of fear and doubt within them, robbing them of the spirit of adventure.
And more importantly, if I did to those things, what I would really be asking them is, “Be careful because I can’t imagine my life without you. Be careful because I’m afraid.” That is too much of a burden for any person, let alone young people who are just beginning to know themselves.
So, I don’t say to my family and friends to be careful. Instead I say, “I love you,” and I breathe.
I accept that life carries with it an element of pain, and in a weird way, knowing this makes me feel brave in the face of my fears. What’s important to me is that I live my life in a way that pleases me and I give everyone else that same freedom, knowing that freedom creates joy.
May you be happy my friend. May you live in freedom and joy. May you love deeply. And may you have many, many adventures.