If you read many of my blogs, you know I’m a Rob Bell fan. His latest podcast did not disappoint. In fact, it gave language to what I’ve been wrestling with over the past year or so.
The reference to this quote is not familiar to me – I know of Chariots of Fire, but I’ve not seen it. From what I gather listening to Rob: a runner was trying to change up the rules for the Olympics. One man said, “We need to take this to the committee.” And another man responded, “We are the committee.”
Rob’s point in this podcast is that we often think we don’t have a choice to make. Or, we are waiting for someone else to make the first move or for someone else to give us permission to [fill in the blank]. However, when it comes down to it – we are the committee. I am the committee. You have agency in this life.
What really struck me is that Brad and I have been clear that we are the committee for quite some time. We haven’t stuck with the traditional path. We are making up our own rules. And, we really don’t care what others have to say about that. Thankfully, those who love and respect us also respect our choices.
Earlier this year, at the suggestion of my therapist, I looked for an infertility support group. Before going, I emailed the organizer. I wanted to know: “Are there people in the group that aren’t seeking alternative forms of conceiving? Are there people in the group who’ve accepted their infertility and are trying to find a new way for their life?” The response was as I suspected it would be – the majority of participants are trying to get pregnant, one way or another. I never went to the support group.
We aren’t taking the conventional path. Even before receiving the news, we were clear on our steps. We knew what we would and wouldn’t do and we made that clear to my doctors. I’m so grateful they respected us.
We are the committee. We get to decide what our lives look like as a married couple without children. In many ways, it feels like we’re navigating uncharted territory.
Around the time I was looking for a support group, I decided to talk with some acquaintances that don’t have children. One couple really wanted kids but were never able to – even in their late 40s, they still wonder “what if.” Another couple didn’t initially decide not to have kids, but over time they realized that wasn’t something they wanted and were fine with it.
I asked questions like, “What do you do when all of your friends have young children? Who do you hang out with?” One woman told me when her peers were having kids, she befriended people 10ish years older than her. Then, by the time her peers had kids in high school, they started hanging out with them again.
These are not the questions I anticipated asking. And yet, we are the committee. I get to decide how this works.
I can sit in pity. I can try to find someone or something to blame. I can be angry and spiteful to those who ask insensitive questions. I can become bitter. But, we are the committee. That’s not the kind of life I want to live.
Some may not understand the choices we’ve made. I imagine some might think we’re selfish for not considering adoption. That’s okay. But, they aren’t on this committee. They don’t get to make these choices.
When I start to think: “but that’s not how it goes” I will remind myself – we are the committee, we get to decide how it goes.
I imagine we all have things in our lives that require us to look in the mirror and remind ourselves: you are the committee. Don’t let the worn path dictate your path. It’s hard blazing a new trail. It’s exhausting and scary and exhilarating and terrifying and confusing. But, when you stop and look back to see that trail you created… surely then you’ll see it’s worth.
As I’ve read over some of my blogs I realize my strength in this trailblazing – even only days after the news. It’s painful to read. I’m her, but at a distance, and it hurts to feel her pain so raw once again. But, she is me and I am her. We’re doing this together. We are the committee.
Never forget that you are the committee, too.