At the core of my home, on one of the central weight-bearing walls, hang photos of my family of origin.
Some visitors wonder aloud why I do not feature photos of my children on this wall, as so many parents do.
I hung these photos myself (a rare feat of incredible prowess for someone with my meager handywoman skills) during a time of great upheaval in my family’s life. They are of my origins. As “our” house became “my” house after divorce, as my parents’ souls left their bodies behind, as I pulled myself up by my bootstraps per my upbringing, I wanted to be reminded from whence I came.
I love my children. I am clear on the uncertainty of our present and future. Because of this, I sometimes need to be reminded of a much simpler past. A past in which my mother taught me honesty at all costs, my father shared his love of a simple sunset, and dinner was at 7 p.m. sharp every evening with all family present and accounted for.
I need to be reminded my parents started with nothing and raised six children. That the tiny ranch house in which I grew up was plain and simple, but well kept. That despite all the ups and downs in a shared experience spanning the Great Depression, World War II, the Vietnam years, men on the moon and the birth of all things digital, my parents made a life. And all, really in the end, was well.
When I see those photos as I buzz to and fro in my hallway, I know I will be ok, despite said uncertain present and future. I give myself permission to honor the life I have lived–the one I am in–as well as the life I envision. (Author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks eloquently of this in her “Give Yourself Permission to Honor Your Life” video clip.)
Guess what? You will be ok right along with me, friend. No matter what you are facing or left winded from—you have your own bedrock. For some, it is not family but willpower, stamina, humor, friends. Whatever it is, you have it. Don’t lose focus on it. Trust me on this one.
Because, in the end, if you can remember the bedrock in which you are rooted, the future becomes more certain. You may not be able to map out the exact twists and turns, but you know the road will end somewhere beautiful.
You will drive that long and far for no less.