Unchartered Territory

In this life, it is never a question of “if” but “when” your life is forever altered by some unforeseen incident. Whether self-induced or uncontrollable, these are moments that define you and, depending on your choices of response and action, they can either digress us or grow us exponentially.

This is particularly true when the family unit is concerned.

For example, we learn after years of marriage that two imperfect people will have to remain diligently committed to one another to avoid being a negative statistic. Look around you. Marriage is hard. A lot of unions don’t make it. It takes a lifetime of learning to get it right. Unless you mirror your partnership(s) after “Sister Wives”, there are two people that must play equal parts to the whole process.

Sometimes, there is an unbreakable connection where there is no one else on the planet you would rather spend every waking moment of your life with: always touching, laughing uncontrollably and delighting in a union you are proud of.  Other times we fail one another and want to pour a gallon of hot sauce in one another’s eyes, smother somebody with a pillow until they beg for mercy and throw a blanket on the trampoline for their sleeping arrangements just to make a point.

We also learn after years of parenthood that children, while they may either share our DNA or even adopted, are strange and foreign creatures that take dedicated effort and analysis to figure out how they need to be taught, guided and loved. To make it that much more difficult, they are all unique and require different parenting approaches.

Often times, the stars align and the days are marked with an expected order of familiar patterns where you easily connect with who they are, identify with their life stages and are preparedly equipped with the tools to help them shine.

Other times, you are so overwhelmed with chaos and your own darkness that your babies’ moments can pass right by you and you miss them. Unless those moments involve biting, yelling, toy throwing, screaming for you incessantly, running around the house with sharp objects, sloppy wet kisses and bathwater overflowing onto your freshly mopped floor. Those tend to get your attention regardless of circumstances.

The point is that anything new in life, positive or negative, is unchartered territory.

When it comes to marriage and children though, unchartered territory must be handled strategically and you have to ensure that you do everything in your power to acclimate to your new norms successfully. It’s like an explorer who goes out on a adventure to find new land, stays lost half the time but is eventually able to slam that flag of conquer into the freshly discovered ground.

Examples in marriage and parenting could be:

  • If you have to be more for your spouse because he or she can’t reciprocate in return at that period in time, then you do it.
  • If you have to discover several styles of parenting because that’s what’s best for your children and their unique personalities, then you learn it.
  • If your plans for your family become altered through unforeseeable factors, you recenter and make new ones.
  • If you get overwhelmed in the process, you take time for yourself, surround yourself with God’s promises and good people, and you get right back to it.

When your life takes a journey into unchartered territory, I say the key is adaptability and attitude because how we respond as parents and spouses dictates how the future will be for the entire family.

Unchartered territory is meant to move us because we can never grow in maturity and wisdom unless we are forced to go in a different direction.

That direction, however, is up to us.

When faced with the same set of options, I will choose to move forward. Life here is a training ground and I don’t like to lose. 🙂