*

From childhood, we seek approval from the people around us. Clean our plates, eat our veggies, go to church, tie our shoes, don’t hit the cat like that, etc. It is a habit that is difficult to quit. At least it is for me. I do what my boss asks of me as well as I possibly can. I follow the rules, I clean my plate.

So when we are visited by tragedy, or folly, of the consequences of stupidity, and our ‘normal’ lives get turned upside down, it is natural to try to hide it from the world, from the others around us, who we fear will judge us tainted, or failures, or bad people.

But I have found that by being open about the failures and difficulties unfolding in my life, in my family, I really encounter the opposite of what I feared.

I’m supported. Encouraged. People I might never have had a real conversation with approach me and tell me their own stories.

*

That’s pretty cool.

*

The struggles we are going through with the Wild Woman of Borneo are horrific. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone, ever.

These struggles destroyed the structure of hopes and dreams that I once had for my child, for our family and our beautiful, soft-focus, tree-lined, music-filled happinessville future. Burned them to the ground, left a smoking hole at the center of my life.

Which freed me.

Freed me to see who she was. Not any of the pictures I held in my head of her, but as close to exactly who she was as I could see.

Freed me to love that person.

To love the life I actually inhabit, not some wished-for phantom.

To welcome brokenness and deformity and all the rest of it, to make a place for it at my table, and feed it the best I had to offer.

*

My life is not what it was before.

It is not happier.

But it is a deeper thing.

*

Thanks to Ms. Moon for the inspiration for this piece.

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