When You Want to Quit
It’s not even 8:00 am and tear-soaked tissues gather at my toes. Alone, I try to pull it together, tuck the chaos behind my ears as I smooth my curls, and take a deep breath.
You are a mess.
A tear drops off of my nose, followed by another sliding from my lip. I ball another tissue and wonder if maybe I were smart or savvy or insightful, then I would be able to fix it all.
Kids would write with impeccable conventions.
Misunderstandings would be extinct.
And love would be enough to heal a childhood of heartache.
I lean forward, fists clenched, and I wonder if maybe it’s time I quit. Maybe there’s something else for me to do. Something where I fail less. I swipe the tears off my eyes and the tissue lands near my toe. My necklace swings out, grazing my knuckles.
Breath catches in my throat and Shine swings back and bumps my chest.I lean forward again, making the necklace suspend in the air. Shine it says.
I snort an ugly laugh, eyes locked on the word, Shine, and I wonder if maybe I’m a big failure after all.
Maybe the heart of who I am, the core of what I believe, is bogus.
I can live a whole life of Shine, celebrating the moments, and still, at the end of the day (or maybe even the beginning) turn out to be a failure.
I lean back and tip my head up, turning to look out the windows. I talk to Jesus. The heavens are grey.
I take a deep breath, push it out through my nose, and breathe in again, filling my body with all it needs to keep going — determination and courage and joy. Exhale.
Just like that, I feel it inside of me. The still small voice rising up and I know, knowknowknow, that even in the thick of the mess and the middle of the muddle and the grey closing in, I can still choose joy.
Wanting to quit because I’m tired of the flaws and the fighting for the same cause again and again and the loving more until I’m tattered is not a sign of failure. Balling up another tissue and swiping the tears and feeling inadequate does not mean I lose. I gather the tissues and stand tall.
It is this moment that I have a choice.
I can choose to celebrate or I can choose to get by — survive.
I will celebrate.
This is what it means to shine.