I never wanted to be the leader. The one who has to tell your dad that the spot on your mom’s MRI is a tumor because he missed the Doctor’s rounds. The one who has to shave your mom’s head for a full craniotomy. The one who has to coordinate all the calls and texts and updates because your mom is so loved and is on everyone’s prayer lists. I am the baby. This wasn’t supposed to be my job. I didn’t ask to be this kind of leader.
But that’s the thing. God doesn’t call upon the most sought-after leaders. He picks the ones He knows will answer the call, whether they are a leader or not. Three years after not knowing if my mom would even wake up after so many seizures, here are the lessons I’ve learned from answering that call.
Many of the times, you earn your wings on the way down. I knew how to lead, but I wasn’t prepared for this. I had to earn my wings in the midst of the storm. I had to learn how to rise above while the wind and rain were beating me down.
How to prepare for the next riptide. Because we all know there will be another one. My mom’s tumor will come back. It has once already. I have learned that in order to float, you must be willing to surrender to whatever is headed your way. If you resist and struggle, not only will you wear yourself out, the sooner you will sink. Sharks will bite. Jellyfish will sting. Fish will nibble. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Don’t settle. Once you get complacent, you don’t listen to what’s truly stirring inside. My mom started running at age 60 and had just finished running her fourth half-marathon 2 months prior to her seizures. She has taught me that it’s never too late to go after a goal, to dream a new dream, and to believe in yourself. Listen to that stirring in your soul. God is calling you to a bigger, better place.
You can’t do it all alone. Lose the ego. Ask for help and be willing to have others help you. There is comfort in being surrounded by those who want to lift you. Extra meals, a few groceries, a coffee date, a few hours babysitting, rides to chemo appointments; whatever it is, let it in. Same goes with prayers. Give it to God, as He is the one orchestrating it all, anyway.
Lastly, love. Unconditionally. Crack open your heart and soul to others who deserve it. And when you do, the dams burst open and you see and feel how the world responds in the ripple effect: shining, soaring, fully, and completely. You will never regret saying, “I love you” when you truly mean it, because holding those feelings and words back will hurt even worse than never saying them at all.