There comes a time in each woman’s life when we look at our best efforts and see only the failure. We started with a dream or a mission or a purpose. We put ourselves behind it, believing without a doubt that we were on the right path. The path was to take us on a marvelous journey to an ideal place. We devoted days or weeks, months or years to our vision, only to wake up one morning and realize our dream has failed or vanished.
What then? What do we do when we find ourselves curled up in a ball in the corner wanting to hide, the pain too great to even acknowledge? We ask ourselves over and over, what went wrong? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? And why, oh why, did it turn out this way? We want to curse the world, or the person who demolished our dreams…perhaps it is ourselves we wish to demolish…blaming ourselves for the failure, for our inability to see the future when we made our commitments. We all know that seeing the future is a gift given only to a few, if any. And yet, we expect it of ourselves.
Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions as we try to break through the confusion and the pain. Blaming others is futile even if it is a survival instinct. Blaming ourselves is equally as disastrous. The real question is what can I learn from this? What can I take forward with me into the rest of my life? What does this experience tell me about who and what I am — the good and the bad? These are the questions of growth and survival.
Life is a learning experience and sometimes we have to learn the same thing over and over until it takes. As painful as that may be, we eventually do learn, and then we have a gift to pass along to others. It is a gift that every woman has to give as she ages. Previous generations looked upon it with reverence and respect — it is the gift of wisdom. It is the most we can hope to gain from our life’s difficulties, but it is a gift that keeps on giving.
© Dorothy Sander 2010 Excerpt from Caring for Mom