The wilderness times of life are uncivilized. The comforts of home, of steady companionship, and of safety are removed. We launch ahead, knowing that while others may have gone before, there is no map to get us through. We find real dangers, the real risk that we may not get through them, and we move on because we must. There is no way out but through.
And wilderness times change us. Whether it’s the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, an illness, a change in career or life direction, we’re irrevocably altered by the times we spend there. We find glimmers of awe-inspiring beauty that take our breath away, and when, finally, we return to civilization, we savor it and the new perspectives we’ve garnered. Ahhh, comforts. We can sleep again, savor a meal, look into the eyes of others and feel present. We’re back.
Single parenthood was one of my wilderness times of life. I hadn’t planned it, but there it was. My own childhood with a schizophrenic, single mother was another. I hadn’t planned it either, but there it was.
Single parenting put the lid on the pressure cooker of my own healing from PTSD. It turned up the heat. I no longer had the luxury of floundering around, looking for answers. I needed them in the here and now: a crying baby in the middle of the night, with work awaiting me in the morning that was necessary to keep our little family going. I needed tools immediately to help me learn not to hit my baby out of frustration and fear, as my mother had done to me. I needed tools to pull my heart up from the bottom of my shoes, where it had dropped when I looked at the task ahead of me and thought, “How does anyone do this?”
“The Wilderness of Motherhood: A memoir of hope and healing” is my story of how I often stumbled through this wilderness, scraped up my knees, and learned that “good enough” was enough, and that wilderness places are all right. They are often more than all right: they are sacred times, and we need to share our stories to give others hope: they can make it.
My book comes out in print at the end of summer. This blog is the new format for the book’s blog. I hope you’ll join me for further conversations about those wilderness places of life: their challenges, their awesome vistas, their valleys. Let’s explore the journey together.