Sunday, February 18, 2007

Not "Why me?" but "What's next?"

As Mojo Mom, I try to strike a balance between a focus on individual action and the acknowledgement of "structual issues" in our society. These forces remain in a constant state of tension. As a society we face discrimination against mothers, racism and sexism to deal with. But for me, on an individual level, it has been helpful to live as though I am in control of my destiny, as I make major decisions. This serves as an inoculation against learned helplessness and beats back the general depression that would result from a totally harsh assessment of the state of the world.

In church this morning my pastor, Jill Edens, gave a brilliant sermon that referenced Reynolds Price's book, A Whole New Life, An Illness and a Healing, Price's memoir of his experiences with spinal cancer and his resulting paralysis. There were so many quotes that I couldn't jot down....I definitely want to read the book. Price talks about the necessity to get a whole new life in the face of his excruciating and potentially deadly battle with cancer. It made me think of the challenges of motherhood, in which we are on some level asked to give up our prior life and identity and create a new one. As I have said previously, this experience has given me the wisdom to face other challenges that have come down the road in the past seven years.

My favorite idea from Jill's sermon was that when we're faced with a crisis, instead of asking "Why me?" we need to be able to look forward and ask "What's next?" To me this provides the bridge that closes the gap between individual responsibilty and social/structural issues. When we face a challenge, we can't get stopped in the tracks of our own victimhood, no matter how justified our grievances may be. We need to keep evolving, no matter how hard it may be to say goodbye to our former, hard-earned, well-deserved lives. Jill said that growth and change often come on like a catastrophic earthquake, rather than a peacful and idyllic image such as a tree stretching gently upward toward the sun.

We'll see if I have the courage to live by these words. I am sure I'll re-read them one day and say "That was easy to write but hard to do." I hope I'll have a wise mentor like Jill to turn to in that moment, as I have before.


Blogger PunditMom said...

Excellent post! You always manage to find a way to looks at things from a different angle that helps me when I think I'm about ready for a pity party!

3:09 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

Hi Punditmom,

I appreciated you comment because this was one of those posts that felt brilliant in my brain but was awkward to translate to words. Looks like I got my point across after all!

10:21 AM  

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