What Makes You Fragile?

Monday, June 21, 2021

My mama, the woman I inherited my love of writing from, gave me a book last year that is called "400 Writing Prompts". There are small thoughts or questions typed on every page and there's not a single thing written in it in response. I do pick it up often and flip through the questions and come here or there (microsoft word) and answer them. 

I've been writing a book lately. It seems that I start one every year and before too awful long, I capitulate and it begins to gather dust in the wastebasket of my home screen. I've started so many and finished none. It's too scary. I want to write something important because if not, I'm not sure what the point is. In the past this has meant that I must write something true, but lately I've started to remember how much fiction can mean to a reader, as well. 

Just today, the kids and I were reading Heidi by Johanna Spyri and I marveled with how well she had my children thinking of talking to God and how big truths like "He is always listening" can help them to navigate any problem that might arise. One of the kids said, "Heidi misses her grandfather and she's trying to be strong." And you know that I almost lost it right there. We, too, are far away from home and the people who make it home and while some days we learn to read just like Heidi and there is much that is exciting, we also gaze on fields of green and cows grazing and wonder just how our people are.

The prompt I found today was this: What makes you fragile? What makes me fragile? It's them.

I'm the Tennessee girl who moved to Alaska knowing no one and started a life. I'm the one who loves a haunted hotel and the idea of the unknown. I'd jump off any height, buckle into any roller coaster, and flirt with disaster at every turn. I'm the girl who decided to homeschool my kids when it went against basically everything I knew. I'm the woman who finished Master's classes in the delivery room at an Army hospital. It was me who stood in waiting rooms trusting my perfect boy in the hands of literal strangers as he struggled with infection after infection. My point is that I am brave. I was. Or I am.

My fragility comes when my kids are involved. I suddenly care so much more of my life because they're involved. Now, I find myself near panic attacks driving in a new city. I have to bite my lip to ensure I won't tell them to be careful on our weekly hikes. The thought of sending them down a snowy mountain on skis is akin to the fiery crash cartoons us eighties babies grew up with. I can't. I worry if they get too far ahead on their bikes when I'm running. Everything I do apart from them reminds me that one misstep and it could leave them without a mom. These are the thoughts that run through my head each time I do anything that strays from our norm.

But what makes me fragile is what makes me strong, too. 

I am the woman who juggled two babies under two while my husband served in the military. I am the one who fought for my second born when no one seemed to understand my God-given instinct that he needed help. I am the one who had three boys under three and battled depression and anxiety all the while. It was me who stood up every time and kept moving. I ran a freakin' marathon (or four) just to outrun my difficulties. My God propelled me.

What makes you fragile has the power to strengthen, too.

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Whatever you're going through, keep going, friend. You are so much stronger than you realize. I will never discount all the problems that have left me fragile because I know that His power is made perfect in my weakness.


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