RIE in Real Life…Don’t mistake uselessness for helplessness

This week’s RIE in Real Life is short and personal, but it resonated with me and I think it will resonate with you, too.

My life is a little upside down at the moment, as I’m on the East Coast with family, helping through an emergent medical situation. It’s been a little chaotic, and it probably doesn’t help that I took a red eye to get here. So, I’m sleep-deprived, trying to figure out my role, trying to learn a whole lot of new skills all at once, and also trying to you know, just be a human. (Any of this sound familiar?) I was feeling discouraged at one several points, and was texting with my husband about things. I’ve been in this position once or twice before and he’s gotten really good at two things: one empathizing, not trying to solve the many woes I lay at his feet (other than an occasional suggestion here and there) and two: reminding me to keep taking care of myself…eat, drink water, GO TO BED, go for a walk, etc. But this time, he came through with a real gem. In a rather low point, I told him I felt exhausted and useless. He replied

Just don’t mistake helplessness for uselessness

And that stopped me right there. He was exactly right. I do feel helpless, but I’m not useless. Helplessness happens, uselessness does not have to happen. There’s always something to do, even if that something is just being there. You may sometimes feel helpless in the face of your child’s upset or struggle or anxiety, but you aren’t useless. And neither am I.

The other piece of advice that came to me this week was a reminder to acknowledge the moments of beauty. That’s where today’s cover picture comes from…a couple hours after that was taken, I was able to stand on a porch watching a dark sky light up periodically with bright white lightning. In between bolts, a huge dark tree twinkled with lightning bugs.

Have you had any moments of beauty this week? I’d love to know about them.

Wishing you all a peaceful weekend.