It’s so easy to doubt, to mistrust decisions and life choices and current paths. This world is overflowing with choices, and lurking behind each one are the gleaming eyes of another potentially more successful one.Most of the time I manage to keep doubt at bay, largely because I make safe choices. I don’t go out on limbs, I follow the tried and true path, the road well traveled. But on those occasions when I stick my neck out and take a risk, I have to force myself to put the shovelful of doubt aside and maintain faith in my forward journey.
I’ve stepped out on a fairly large limb (at least it is for me) by publishing a book. The final proof of Life in General is in transit to me right now, and as I wait for it to arrive I feel the seeds of doubt beginning to sprout in my mind.
The book should be shorter, the paper should be ivory instead of white, the cover is the wrong color. I am a bad writer. The whole thing is stupid.
Doubt. Doubt. Doubt.
Wait a minute, I say to myself, this shovelful of doubt poised halfway out of the fertile ground of my mind. Remember why you did this in the first place? This book is mostly for YOU, to preserve this writing journey you’ve been on for the past eight years, to collect the thoughts and experiences you’ve used words to clarify for yourself. It’s a book for YOU, the woman who loves books and paper and words preserved in black and white (or ivory!). Some people paint, some throw pots in clay, some sew or quilt or knit. You write. You craved a concrete expression of that gift.
I’ve just joined a new Facebook group dedicated to sharing the beauty of everyday life, and aside from my family, there’s nothing to which I’m more dedicated than the art of daily living. “The Extraordinary Ordinary,” I call it, and I celebrate it in a myriad of ways every day. It keeps me centered and grounded when I feel those stirrings of doubt - maybe I should have taken that new accompanying job at the high school, maybe I should look for a “real” job so we can save more money for retirement, maybe I should go back to school and learn how to do something productive for a change. Maybe I should die my hair blonde. Or take a Zumba class.
But then I recall the profound contentment I feel here in my home, making my own schedule, volunteering, playing music, taking care of my family, helping my mom. I know if I were bound to any of those other choices that sometimes beckon me with their glittering possibility, I would be anxious and worried and fretting and miserable. I’ve been there. I’ve done that.
We have to plant the seeds of faith over and over throughout our lives, because they will get unearthed at times by doubt and fear and uncertainty. Doubt can only be dispelled by faith in the reasons we have for doing what we do, and by faith in ourselves and in knowing what we need to be happy.
Sometimes it takes as much courage to follow that road as it does to strike out on a new one.