"I Could Never Do That..."
"I could never homeschool or unschool"
"I could never eat gluten-free"
"I could never have a homebirth, co-sleep, or nurse well into toddlerhood"
"I couldn't stand it if my husband were home all the time on a disability, while I worked part-time"
"I Could Never"
I've heard this phrase many times, have you? Sometimes I hear it in my own head. In fact, most of the above I have heard in my own head, at some time; and yet these are some of the things I have done that I am the most proud of, and the most thankful to have done.
This has me thinking, maybe "I could never do that" serves a purpose. Maybe it's us challenging ourselves. Maybe it's us saying to ourselves "Would I want to do that? Would I value that in my life? Would I have the circumstances to do that?" Maybe it's us, taking an idea and making a judgement on it for ourselves personally. And maybe some personal growth comes from that. Maybe whatever it is doesn't fit into what we would envision for our life; or maybe it could; or maybe it already does. Maybe "I could never do that" isn't as final as it sounds, if a persons mind is up to questioning it's truth.
When I hear my internal voice say "I could never do that" I tend to answer myself with a bunch of questions. "Is that really true? Could I honestly not do that? What would happen if I did?" And eventually sometimes the answer is "Well, sure of course I could do that." or "Maybe I just don't want to".
This is what I feel is the sad part; I think that sometimes when someone's internal voice says "I could never do that", and we believe it, and we are selling ourselves short.
We are each made so incredibly beautiful, capable of so many things. Why limit ourselves with "I could never"?
We've also been given this beautiful gift of freedom to write our own stories; sometimes "I could never" is stealing our freedom.
So these are the kinds of conversations I have with myself. (As if you needed that peak into Crazy-town!)
But here's the thing, sometimes, I hear "I could never do that" from others. It's as if they are hearing what I'm doing, and their internal dialogue of "I could never do that" spills out. Not to be offensive, but sometimes hearing that can feel a little, um, discouraging... yeah, let's go with that.
I bring this up because most recently I've been hearing "I could never do that" in relation to adoption. That's right. I said it: adoption. Go ahead a take a moment to digest that. Admittedly, it's HUGE. It's a gigantic, life-altering chapter that we are choosing to write into the story of our life.
Adoption is an active process of jumping through hoops, (and more hoops) to qualify. It means we are opening ourselves up spiritually, emotionally, and physically to welcoming a new member of our family.
When we began this process, I was feeling pretty private about it; not telling very many people because I anticipated all the variations of "I could never do that" that I could be hearing. I wanted to block out any discouragement coming my way. I didn't want to hear the not-so-great experiences people hear or have had. (Why are we so quick to share the sad stories? Is it a warning? Is it meant to say "Listen, you are investing and risking a lot, and you could fail"... as though we are not acutely aware of that already?) I wanted to protect my heart from those who would be unsupportive. But here's the thing, this process has involved my heart, mind and emotions. It's in my conversations and even my dreams.
This is me, taking the scary leap of openness. We are expecting! This is exciting news! So for goodness sakes, Please be happy for us! I feel so grateful to have many friends have been super-supportive.
I'm finding this process very similar to pregnancy. We are bonding with the idea of our new child, as any family would be. Granted, it's a different process; we are opening our hearts to many outcomes: a boy or girl, of many races, and under the age of 5. A child who may have had something of a life before us. A child who needs a loving family. Evidently, this sounds crazy to some.
I'm going to be brutally honest, mostly the unsupportive responses consist of a mix of *silence* and concerns about money.... sometimes with a sad story about ministry involvement thrown in for good measure.... and of course no conversation about anything out-of-the-box would be complete without "I could never do that." *Please, don't think of me as being hostile about this. I just want to put it out there, that none of these are helpful responses.*
Our family has purposely built a very happy out-of-the-box life by doing what others swear they could never. And that's cool, cause we all get to participate in the writing of our own story. I'm sure I would have a really hard time living another persons story.... (one of school and curriculum, and full time work...) but I could, if I had to, or if those things were things I chose.