I recently took 4 of my kiddos on a road trip out West. In preparation for the journey, I had to let my students know that there would not be classes. I had to let my friends and family know I would be out of town. Our trip was 2200 miles there and back; this did not include the driving we did once we arrived at our destination. As I packed, I recalled voices of those concerned with the fact that I would be taking this trip "alone" with my children. "Sheesh, I don't know if that is a great idea." In some moments, it got the best of me and their doubts almost became my own! I know that for the most part, their words were rooted in wanting for my safety but I still could not help but replay their actual words. Even after we had gone and arrived home safely, folks still were saying things like "I could never do something like that."
It really got me thinking...how often I hear people talk in comparison "I could never be like that", "I do not know how someone can do something like that." Automatically, so many defaulted to their own doubts and served them up to me piping hot. And I took them in but ultimately overcame. So how many of us are serving up our doubt to another passing it off as concern? How many of us were given doubt dressed up as concern and made it our own? I had to wonder...were these even their own doubts or were these someone else's handed down over time?
How much doubt do we carry that is not our own? So I began to take a conscious look at the doubts that were ringing through my mind concerning my upcoming trip...most of them were not mine. Most of them were said out of love and fear for their loved one. But maybe we can all do well by one another and ourselves by checking our doubt. Not be so willing to give it out. Not be so willing to accept it. And check in with that conversation we have within ourselves when the moment presents itself. Can we begin to trace those doubtful thoughts back to their original owners? That begins with checking in with the doubts we carry.
Maybe we can begin to recognize it and sort it out a bit. Something like:
1 bin labeled Not Mine to Carry
1 bin labeled Uncertain- still needs sorting
1 bin labeled Definitely Mine
Maybe through sorting we can let go of what we can and breathe a bit easier. So we can keep a check on what we are projecting. So we can find a way to the root of our concerns and hopefully begin to lessen the need for comparison. The world needs thoughtful, concerned folks and as ever, encouragement! Sitting down with doubt to sort things out may be a great starting point in working to honor what we own and let go of what was never meant for us.