Just because you can...

The first half of my life I spent trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I can do it all. I was going for mom of the year, employee of the year, wife of the year, all year, every year. Looking back, I know I took everything on that became available because I needed to know that I could do it, and that I was important.
Since I "dropped my basket", I've become more comfortable with finding and embracing my limits, recognizing when the gift of accomplishment is someone else's to achieve, and slowly recognizing that my jumping in and grabbing things to do, may be an interception to someone else. Or maybe even an interception of the natural order of things.

A dear friend of mine shared a personally difficult story that was so powerful that it would have been impossible for me to ignore the lesson.
The moral to the story became my mantra.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

One of the most powerful forces I know in the area of no-kill animal shelters is an avid runner and protector of all living things. She was running a three mile loop at a wonderfully wooded park that is bordered by fairly busy vehicular traffic.

She noticed a pigeon standing very still in the middle of one of the streets that border the park. As she approached, she watched this bird, hoping it would get startled enough by the joggers to take off. There was no sign that this bird was going to move. This woman is not afraid of anything. She once transported a live squirrel in the cab of her truck to a wildlife rescue facility while being bitten and terrorized all the way. Removing a seemingly lame pigeon from the street was not outside of her skill level. She slowly walked into the street, still shocked that it made no effort to retreat, she was able to grab it and inspect the seemingly frozen bird for wing damage or any apparent injuries. Everything checked out fine so she gave it one of those, "fly, be free" releases. As she let go, thinking she'd made a glorious rescue, she was met with a thunderous whir of wings flapping followed by a shower of feathers. The bird she just released was being hunted by a predator way above the jogging path and street. This was a devastating encounter with animal instinct, the circle of life, and someone with undoubtedly the best self-sacrificing animal rescue instincts on the planet. Once she pulled herself together enough to run back to her truck, she somehow managed to be alert enough to read the words on an oncoming jogger's shirt,
"everything is going to be ok".

We need to discern what is ours, we need to be quiet and still enough to see all those around us, what connects us, and how all of it is all working in delicate balance. When we do take an action that seems like a good idea and turns into a terrible source of regret, we need to remember that everything will still be ok.