I was extremely fortunate enough last week to need to have a crown placed on one of my teeth (and a cavity filled, too). Have you ever had a dental crown appointment? Can't remember how long ago exactly but eight to ten years ago I had to get a root canal & crown done on a tooth that had impact trauma from a childhood fall onto cement. I've had fairly good luck with pain management for dental procedures so I didn't find either procedure to be painful but do remember it taking a very very long time. So, going into the appointment last week, I was prepared for periods of waiting for medicine to set in, cement to cure, etc. In my continued quest to read more books this year, I brought along the current book I was reading--"Chasing Slow" by Erin Loechner (HIGHLY recommend, by the way!). Apparently not many people bring books with them to dentist appointments (imagine that...) so this led to some conversations with the dentist and his assistants about books, topics I enjoyed, blogging (Erin Loechner has been blogging for over a decade). Well, to say "conversations" is being a bit kind because it was more like a couple sentences at a time followed by a long stretches of my dentist's hands in my mouth.
But in the midst of the choppy discussion, while laying there with some sort of sharp object poking my teeth, I had this interesting revelation: I think I'm starting to like non-fiction books more than fiction. "Uh, wow, Allison. Good for you. How....life-changing." Life changing might be a bit extreme of a word but I really do think it highlights how my life has changed through the years. With the exception of a few books, I have always been drawn more to fiction books, or at the very least, I didn't want to give non-fiction books a chance. Hanging out in that dental chair for two hours gave me ample time to think about this new discovery and here is what I came up with:
I have been drawn to fiction books as a way to escape life--escape, distract, focus on dramatic situations that thankfully do not involve me, cheer for the boy and girl to fall in love when the final chapter comes. I don't think there's anything wrong with the escape, nor do I no longer enjoy fiction books. I have simply realized that my favorite books over the past year or so have been about real people and real life. Differing political views, social statuses, income brackets, age--it all fades to the background when you realize that each of us has a heart that is capable of being broken, a soul that is capable of being lonely, and a deep longing to be heard & understood. We may not all be going through the same valleys and mountains at the same time but there is always at least one other person who has been there or is currently traveling that path.
And there is some comfort and relief in that, isn't there?
I'm not the only mother to:
- have dealt with a baby with reflux
-need a few weeks to feel a complete bond with my babies
-LOVE her children but also LOVE bedtime
-feed my children mac & cheese and teddy grahams or sometimes count applesauce as their "fruit" for that meal
-let her kids watch more TV than "they" recommend
I'm not the only mother/woman to:
-feel overwhelmed by the one million choices that are present for every stage of childhood (and life)
-want to be social but also want to stay home, on the couch, alone
-fear that my introverted, sometimes reserved self inhibits me from having deeper friendships and more friends
-worry that I'm too serious, too scheduled, too planned
I'm not alone--and neither are you. That's what drew me into reading blogs so many years ago and what enticed me to start writing my own blog posts. It's not a community of experts who have answers to all of the world's problems. It's a community of life and experiences and insecurities and challenges and success and joy. Not everyone has the same experiences or the same opinions but that's what makes us all unique. I think it took me a bit to find some comfort and security in that. No, I'm not just like you. No, I'm not bubbly like you and find social gatherings to be a bit daunting. No, we didn't have the same reaction to that life event. But...that doesn't make me less than. It grants me the ability to offer another perspective and to add a different color to the world God has created.
A couple days after my dental chair realization, I saw this conversation on Facebook between two of my favorite authors--Shauna Niequist & Jen Hatmaker--and connected very deeply with what they were saying. It is something I have such a desire to be better at. I want so badly to be more vulnerable with what I'm struggling with and need and in turn, I want so badly for others to feel like they can be more more vulnerable with what THEY are struggling with and need. Click here to view the video! Please please please watch the video. It's SO good. :-)
[No promotion of the Belong Tour intended by the sharing of this video.]
May you all know that you aren't alone and that this wonderful FIT4MOM Grand Rapids village is here to surround you with support, encouragement, and acceptance.