There are times when clarity and decisions come as the result of careful analysis and thinking. Other times they come as a gut sense of just knowing something, and other times as a response to some external catalyst.
But sometimes clarity can remain elusive for a disquieting amount of time. We think it’s time to know something, and yet, we don’t.
I have come to have great respect for the evolution of clarity. Unfortunately, clarity isn’t an item we are able to go get off the shelf when we want it. I believe that there are times when outside factors are still lining up; while at others there are internal shifts that we need to make which we may not be aware of.
We don’t tend to find clarity before we’re ready. Sometimes we are in a process of letting go or preparing ourselves for a change that will result from making a certain decision. This can be entirely unconscious, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
One day we will realize that we have clarity and find ourselves ready for what that might mean.
Sometimes we have to wait and the patience required for this can be challenging. Things become clear, but all the variables are not yet lined up to make it a reality. You figure out where you want to move, but can’t get a job; you decide to have a child but can’t get pregnant; etc.
It may simply be a matter of timing—human time and Spirit time don’t always line up. Or we find that Spirit has entirely different ideas in mind for us. Our faith can be challenged to the core when this happens.
I always knew I wanted to be a mother. As an oldest daughter in a large family, I had some experience with parenting. I was told over and over what a great mom I would be. Getting married and having a family is broadly expected in our culture, as it was in my family. I also believe there is a very strong hormonal urge for most women that goes way beyond the brain.
When I finally met a man whom I considered marrying, it turned out he didn’t want any more children. He was older than I was and already had a grown son. At first we assumed, “Okay, this won’t be a long-term relationship.” We both felt clear about what we wanted and it didn’t match up. Damn! But I really liked him. Actually, I was falling in love.
This forced me to really look at the question and the choice.
I got to the point of letting go of the assumption of motherhood. I hadn’t realized that it was an assumption. It was just in there deep. As I considered letting go of the idea of having a child, I prepared myself to feel grief and sadness; it didn’t come. I was shocked to find that I was actually feeling some relief and a deep sense of freedom.
I waited; the big grief never came, though I have experienced waves of sadness and wondering through the years.
I came to realize that whether I chose motherhood or not, there was not a right or wrong answer—just two different paths. This was radical to me. It also meant that I had the ability to choose without fear of getting it “wrong”. I didn’t have to find the right path; I just needed to choose.
When I was forty-three and had been happily married for a several years, I had a bigger wave of that yearning to have a child than I had had for a while. I shared my feelings with my husband. This time, he told me that if I was really clear this was what I wanted, then he would say yes if I asked. Oh my god.
This really surprised me. I sat with it. His willingness meant so much to me, but I had already made peace with the life I had chosen, and I liked my life. And pragmatically, it didn't make sense at this stage of our lives. He is also significantly older than I am.
I didn’t ask him.
Now I feel that in spite of what I had been so clear about earlier, there could be an even better scenario that I couldn’t even imagine. Whatever the trade offs, I believe I ended up making the right choice for me.
So there’s clarity, and then there’s the surrender to what evolves. It’s okay to be surprised.