Hi Friends! Today, I’m pleased to welcome Anita Sullivan of Losing Austin, Finding Myself. Anita is a talented writer who shares inspiration, wisdom, occasional sadness and everyday funny moments spent with her two boys, her husband and her community. She also blogs about losing her brother Austin, who went missing in 2007. She and her family have no idea what happened to him and continue to hold hope for answers. The unknown of it all just breaks my heart. I can’t imagine the not-knowing. For more information about Austin and his missing persons case, visit the website they maintain for his search, Find Austin Davis. In the meantime, enjoy Anita’s amazingness by reading her Our Land submission (that has nothing to do with her brother Austin):
The Land of Trying Our Best
In my land, we follow this one rule above all else: Assume that people are doing their best and have a story that you can’t know the depths of, that shapes what you see.
I try. I really do. To be a good person, a good friend, a good mom, a good employee, a good manager, a good church member, a good baseball mom, and the list goes on… And as a whole, I do okay.
My husband tries, he really does. To be good at all he does, including parenting and work and coaching and volunteering. And as a whole, he does pretty well.
My kids try too, they really do. To be kids and enjoy life, and listen and grow and play hard and be good friends. And they do awesome at it.
But some days you may see…
Me running out the door late with wet hair, my kids having no breakfast and not prepared for school and grouchy, my husband in bed all day, and us cancelling plans on you. Those days, we don’t hold up to the Pinterest/HGTV/Facebook/Instagram/Parents Magazine/Pottery Barn Catalog ideal. Heck, we never really do, even on our good days.
And we see the looks and hear the jokes, and sometimes even see the pity in your eyes. But I tell myself that we’re still going, and that counts for a lot.
Because what you don’t see…
My husband didn’t sleep much last night and woke up very ill for the 6th day in a row, so ill that we debated hospital or no hospital (after six weeks of not knowing what days would be good and which would be bad). And yes, we know what he “has” but there is no “fix” and we’ve have about 30 of these hospitalizations, so we’ve gotten pretty good at knowing when it’s necessary.
That I got home long after my kids’ bedtime, arriving on a late flight from a client meeting and overslept out of exhaustion. And yes, I have considered a job that didn’t require travel, but not only do I have a job I’m good at and enjoy, our family relies on that job to meet out needs.
That my oldest was sad that his dad missed him pitching last night, but has dealt with a sick dad his whole life and understands sacrifice and helping out, and is proud to be needed, so mature for his age. And yes, baseball isn’t everything, but having your dad there for big moments is.
That my youngest is wild and fun and full of energy, but managed to sit quietly for an hour when told his sick daddy needed him to be quiet for a bit. He gave him a hug. And yes, it doesn’t seem like much, but if you knew him, you’d know that it is a small miracle.
In our land, when you see us late, wet, unprepared, exhausted or absent, you’ll assume that we’re doing our best, and that our best is pretty darn good. You wouldn’t assume that we’re lazy, uncaring, selfish or poor.
In our land, you’d understand that whatever we tell you is only the tip of the iceberg, and there is so much more to our troubling story.
Our land has quite a lot of people who know our story and step in to fill the gaps when we need help. My mom is the hero of our world, who makes so much of it possible. Our friends have become family, offering much more than you should ever need to ask of a friend. They make it possible to bear the others, the ones who make judgments and cast a rolled eye or snide remark.
But I dream of a land where we don’t have to know someone’s story before we give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are doing their best. In Our Land, we offer a heartfelt smile and a kind word, knowing they may just need that small gesture to take their next steps of the day.
Their story, your story, they may not be like mine. But we all have one. And on any given day, many of us are struggling with something.
Join me in Our Land, and tell me your story. And in the meantime, I’ll know you’re doing your best.
CHILLS to Anita’s “we’ll know you’re doing your best,” right? Anita’s husband suffers from Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, which means that many of her posts are written from hospital rooms. I love her version of Our Land. Don’t you? Here’s a bit more about her:
Anita Davis Sullivan shares her story at anitadavissullivan.com, working to show others that there is Hope in any darkness they face. She is the sister of a missing person (findaustindavis.com), wife to a chronically ill husband (and disabled vet), mom to two boys, God lover, baseball cheerleader, overdoer, wannabe healthy eater, juggler, software product manager, and at least 82 more things.