Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Next Best Step: Growing Up from the Valley

I've noticed a pattern lately. A different way than putting the next foot forward. Something better than that.

Honestly, a year ago, the lesser is all I could do...make some sort of forward motion to keep up with life around me, even though I was barely living inside.
Stumbling around got me from there to here. Even if I chose the easiest way to lift my foot and place it down matter how small, how insignificant at the least I was moving. At least there was something ahead of my heart...even if it was just my toes.

This crippling motion is my valley walk. It's when I am shadowed by giant mountains all around me, and I can't hardly see the light.

It's when I stare at that latest rejection of my writing, and choose to take the next step by slamming the computer shut. It's moving somewhere--even if it's just away from the defeat.

It's when I storm out of the house and shove myself into the car. Just sitting there. To get away from it all--the arguing, the whining, the unwise words from my mouth landing on the ears of my children. It's a step. At least a change.

Or as I felt mostly last fall, it's when I turn away and weep, facing away from the disappointment...facing...somewhere ahead of me. That's the next step. To just look away from all the hurt.
But now, I am still moving forward, realizing something more--after the surviving and striving. After the near backward falls into quitting the writing, snapping once again at the kids, and almost giving up on my marriage, I stumble onto a new way. Not just trying to move in a direction, but taking the next BEST step.

When you've been in the valley long enough, you realize there really is only one direction. Up.

Life is brighter. Growing Upward really does make a difference. And I am no longer settled with scraping by with little shuffles but finding that next best step up and out of this valley.

I may still find rejection in my writing--but what's my next best step for me? Not the quick step of throwing it all away and starting over. But what is the BEST thing to do? It might not be seeking publication wherever I can grab it, or finding a new dream. The next BEST thing to do might just be keep trying. And when my growth is stunted, "keep trying" is not much of an option.

Mistakes will ALWAYs find me as a parent...and sometimes, I am so defeated...running away for a moment...or three...seems like the next step. But now, after I may lapse into such cowardly retreat, what's the next BEST step for us all? It might just be apologizing and moving on. Or, as it has often been the case, saying no to the expected activity of the evening. It might be saying never to it...ever again. When I am growing Up...I am able to decipher what's better and best.

And speaking of mistakes in parenting...well, marriage is a whole different tangly mess. And married life last year was NO FUN. Now, there are still plenty of thorns that snag my forward movement along the way. Every once in a while, I find one and I have to wrestle myself away from it so I can choose the next BEST step. And I am sure my husband also feels the same. We are both learning and's debatable. ;) But each day that I choose to love, choose to hope, and choose him...I stumble across the next best step. Thank God I can tell the difference between these steps and the stumbling of a year ago.



  1. Bless your heart! Keep on keeping on! Keep on loving! Choose to see the good! Speaking to myself as well!❤️