Home/After 10 years, we’re done (with martyrdom)

A Wish Come Clear is 10 years old this week. I published the first post on January 16, 2011. To quote Captain Awkward – a fellow 10 year blogging veteran – this makes the blog “1 bajillion years old in blog years.”

In hindsight, it’s easy to see that starting the blog was a good choice: It’s now a thriving community with thousands of kindred spirits gathered here. You, dear ones, are the reason that I wrote (and got a book deal for) my forthcoming book, You Don’t Owe Anyone.

Yet there were plenty of reasons why it was crazy for me to start a blog back in 2011. I had a stressful, more-than-full-time job, plus a mysterious malady that left me exhausted all the time.

So what changed? Why did I begin?

It reminds me of a listener question from The Pursue Your Path Series last year: “What one thing prompted you to pursue your path?”

The truest answer I can give is: Losing people I love.

Loss as a Catalyst

Even as my heart goes out to anyone who has lost beloved people in this very difficult time of COVID, I also know that sometimes loss can be a catalytic force.

In the short span of time 10 years ago when I launched this blog and began a writing business, I was unfortunate (or fortunate) enough to say goodbye to two beloved people. My grandfather and grandfather-in-spirit both died, and I shared time with them in their last days.

Before they died, I believed that I owed the world a certain version of me: The one who was content with the way things were, the one who didn’t secretly yearn for more – more writing, more time, more quiet, more love.

(Do you know what that’s like? To want something different than a daily drudgery, then second-guess yourself and think that maybe you’re just ungrateful or sinful or selfish?)

I thought I was supposed to just keep plugging away at a nonprofit management job that – while immensely important and worthwhile – also drained the life from my heart.

What If There’s a Better Way?

As I wrote in You Don’t Owe Anyone:

“I was simultaneously very good at my job and shredded by its requirements. During one of my birthday celebrations at L’Arche, community members were asked to describe my gifts. An observant intern had written, ‘Caroline always finishes the job!’

Alongside those words, he’d used Crayons to draw a stick-­figure picture of me pulling a tray out of the house oven and flashing a competent, in-­control smile.

That intern had me pegged; for better or worse, I did always finish the job. But did I choose my jobs wisely? I wondered. Did I spend my time doing what I loved?

The questions had haunted me ever since my grandfather and a dear friend from L’Arche had died. As I mourned them, I understood that there was no running away from my truth any longer.

One Powerful Question

Over my harried breakfast that morning, a quick scroll through my Twitter feed turned up a Tweet from a writer and entrepreneur I admired, Ash Ambirge: ‘What do you want to do? That’s the only question you need to answer.’

I knew what I wanted to do; I had known since I was six years old. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to make books. Even with my high-­demand job, I still wrote in my journal in the mornings and on my laptop in the evenings.

With Jonathan’s support, I’d begun a blog highlighting lessons I’d learned from my friends with special needs at L’Arche. I’d named the site A Wish Come Clear in [my brother] Willie’s honor, a nod to the “purposeful mistakes” that he and I both loved.

My prayer for the blog was that it would be like the intentional gaps in those Native American blankets that I read about on the morning that so much changed for me. I prayed that the blog would provide an opening for Spirit to move. I dreamed about building up the blog’s readership and becoming a published author.

That was the life I longed for. If my time and energy actually belonged to me, I thought, that was what I wanted to do with them.

So on that ordinary Tuesday morning, I wiped away my tears, disembarked the bus, and decided to do something about it.”

Done with Martyrdom

If you’re like me, maybe on some level you believe that you are supposed to be a martyr for a good cause. Perhaps you believe that dying inside is actually an inescapable part of BEING good.

But after my grandfathers died, that belief system of ours suddenly seemed crazy to me. It seemed like a waste, a dishonoring of the fragile gift of being alive.

It was also a dishonoring of my grandfathers, because in their eyes, I was already good. They just wanted me to be free.

They didn’t tell me this in words, you understand – it’s just that when I spent time with them, I could feel it. I could feel that the way to honor them was to LIVE, not just survive.

Dear one, have you been pretend that things are okay as they are, while deep down you just know, This isn’t it? There’s something else I’m meant to pursue, another path I’m meant to walk …?

If so, it’s not just you.

I know how stifling it feels to stay stuck. I know what it’s like to keep your feet braced firmly on the ground of so-called “gratitude” when your spirit is telling you to use your strength and run, run, run.

If that’s you, here’s what I want you to know:

No one who truly loves you wants you bound.
Everyone who truly loves you wants you to free.

And you can make the choice to set yourself free, anytime you want.

Yes, even on an ordinary Tuesday morning.
Even here.
Even now.

Yours in possibility,
Caroline

PS – Join the Launch Team!

Have you been feeling like it’s time to stop secretly dying inside and start actually living?

If so, I invite you to join the Launch Team for my new book, You Don’t Owe Anyone: Free Yourself from the Weight of Expectations!

When you join, you’ll get access to an advance digital copy of the book, and my everlasting gratitude for helping to get the word out.

Click here to join the launch team.

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