I am not enough.

Sometimes when I’m at work driving from patient to patient, losing minutes to miles and heading in one direction but needed in others and carrying only my inadequate arsenal of words and empathy and resources, I want to yell:


I’m not enough to stop their pain.
I’m not enough to make the cancer go away.
I’m not enough to give them more time to love, to savor, to live.

Sometimes when I’m at home and I’m tending to broken skin and hurt feelings and striving for enough time to fill them with the messages that will carry them through life while my mind is distracted by work and home and lists and calendars, I want to cry:

I am not enough.

I’m not enough to protect my babies from cruelty and judgement and heartbreak.
I’m not enough to keep them innocent and naive and little.
I’m not enough to protect them from the storm.

And being not enough is terrifying and wonderful.

I am not enough.

And a still, small voice answers: “But I Am.”

13 thoughts on “I am not enough.

  1. True, you are not everything, But you are still enough. Because enough is what you are able to give. You are and you try and that is far better than not trying or doing due to the fact it is still not enough.

    I believe that is better to do what you can (enough) than nothing, when we all do something it becomes everything!

    But do not get me started on my children… since I know there are people out there not doing anything, it scares the s**t out of me that I need to let them out there alone. But I will continue to do my part, it is all I can do and that is what enough is.

    1. That’s actually the blog post I planned to write this morning. But my day led me down a different path! I agree wholeheartedly with you. When we give all we can and do something instead of looking away and throwing our hands up in despair or frustration or exhaustion we are definitely enough in that moment. And when we rely on other people (live in the shelter of each other – I read that somewhere) then we are even more. But sometimes we are also not powerful enough to protect or heal. Which absolutely doesn’t mean we should do nothing!! But, for me, I have to accept that I can’t do it all, control it all. So, I agree, in that sense what I do is enough because it’s all I can do. For me though it’s comforting knowing I can say “I don’t feel I was enough today. And it’s okay.” Not a failure but a relief.

  2. I hope you listen to your small voice. It’s right.

    Voltaire said “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Far too many of us let Good pass us by on the quest for Perfect. And Good is… well, for lack of a better word, good.

  3. “The Lord was not in the wind…The Lord was not in the earthquake…And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire, a still small voice.” (I Kings 19) Raising my children, I’ve dealt with too many earthquakes, fought many fires–often with my tears, and been shaken by the winds of life; but like you, I’ve found my peace in that still small voice. Isn’t it ironic that we tend to look for help in a roaring show of power but find comfort in something many people never take time to hear. If I can train my children to be still and listen for that voice, then I am doing more than enough because they will never face those dangers alone. This is how I find quiet courage to face the persnickety neighbor, emotional teens, stomach flu, laundry piles, unexpected expenses, house fires, lost socks, and life’s disappointments. What an amazing journey!

  4. Perfectly written.

    We are not perfect, but we serve one who is. Why on earth we feel like we should be able to do it all is beyond me? We are much harder on ourselves than anyone else is.

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