You know how once you become a mother, it suddenly becomes an unspoken requirement to greet other mothers with, “Hey, Mama!” Well, Hey Mamas! Listen, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore that as a generation of mothers, we seem to be finding more joy in broadcasting the trials of parenthood than in the job with which we’ve been gifted. I think in an effort to be recognized and validated as mothers, we have begun to undercut our own positions by building our platform on hardship instead of strength. And I think we’re all better than that. In fact, I know we’re all better than that. Let’s stand together in the trenches and dig deep to find the wellsprings of life and use those to feed our souls and spirits.
And this is where I segue into a very extended metaphor of motherhood.
You can’t sort of dig a well. A half dug well is a hole. Or a really crappy mud puddle. And motherhood is like digging a super deep well. You have to remove a whole lot of dirt and grime before you hit clean water. It feels almost trendy these days to half dig it, complain about our aching muscles and draw the utmost attention to the mud flooding into our half dug holes. “Look at all this crap I’m standing in, you guys!” No. It isn’t crap. It’s just the top layer covering up the deepest source of life.
I don’t know a whole lot about wells, but a cursory study of Wikihow tonight taught me a couple of things. Here’s one. You can ruin your well when you dig it in the wrong place, and good gracious, we are becoming so sloppy about where we dig. We are allowing the poison in the wrong dirt to turn our wells into cesspools, and it’s time to stop. There are so many things in life that are beyond our choice, but deciding where to overturn the first pile of ground is one of them.
You’ll never find the water you need to nourish your soul and your family on the surface of the soil, and you’ll never find the clean water in the wrong place. Your spring can’t flow from adopted martyrdom anymore. Your streams can’t be sustained with trickles of victimization.
No one has been better equipped for the digging than you. But the digging is two-fold… you have to dig to find the water, and you have to dig to remove the dirt. Most people never see the bottom of a well (except poor Timmy from Lassie). They never touch the water flowing, but they drink in the bounty of the flow.
It isn’t glamorous work to uncover the pools of water waiting below. It is undoubtedly exhausting toil to remove spade after spade of clay and rock and earth to reach the groundwater below. Not everyone is tasked to be a well-digger. Not everyone has the perseverance to continue the excavation in the faith that eventually the water will be revealed. But the satisfaction of the first shovel that holds water is beyond words. It’s precious and pure.
Dig in community. Dig in solidarity. Dig in confidence. Dig in assurance. Dig in soil of monotony and celebrate the comfort of routine. Dig in soil of long days and celebrate the unexpected moments of breath-stealing joy. Dig in soil that is full of roots and snarls and rocks and celebrate the endurance needed to breakthrough it… without slinging it for everyone to see. We all have our own tough soil. But we’re all digging.
Don’t dig in the soil of resentment and be surprised to find a pool that has been contaminated with dissatisfaction. Acknowledge what is hard by dancing in the victory, not putting the shovel down and wallowing in the puddle. The digging yields the strong arms and taut shoulders that have been crafted to hold the legacy that will be sustained by the water.
Let’s move forward as a generation of well diggers, mamas… not puddle watchers.