You know those days that are etched in your mind forever? Those days that live inside of you like it was just yesterday? Your first kiss. The day you got married. The day your child was born. The day you won that race. For most of us those are the GOOD days, the days we want to hold on to, because there is NOTHING quite like them. Occasionally those days are less desirable, not so joyous. Today, for me, will never go away...even though I have spent most of this year wishing that it would. No matter how hard I tried, or what I did, it was still there. I have willed it away with all of my heart. I have faked it away. I have attempted to ignore it. Just like a sticky bugger (you can tell I’m a boy mom), however, the damn thing won’t go away. GAH!!!! I had to make a choice. All that was left was to hug this mountain that I found myself on and start climbing (and if you know anything about me, I'm terrified of heights....I need a wide, rolling eyed, snarling emoji right about now).
As with all things that become us, I believe, we need to figure out how to use them for our greater good or the good of those around us. I have come to the conclusion, over this last year, that not all things that we deem bad, stay ALL bad forever. I can’t avoid seeing the scars, feeling the fear, or recalling the images from a year ago but I can also choose to see a man named Wayne, a nurse from Vancouver, who ran towards my screams to help us. He took over and took care of Jon without a second thought. A woman, named Audrey, who kept hugging me and hugging me and hugging me to calm me down. Paola (my sweet angel) who didn’t go home to be with her family when she could have, but instead came and sat with me, a stranger, in the waiting room while Jon was on the operating table. We were not alone, there was goodness that surrounded us. The comfort, kindness, and compassion that those three individuals (and so many more) provided was so much more powerful than the cowardice that we experienced on that street.
I believe it's human nature to be drawn to focus on the negative of a situation instead of immediately looking for the positive. The God's honest truth is that sometimes you have to look really hard to find it. Retraining your mind to look for the good requires intentional thought and commitment.
A friend of mine recently shared with me some news that completely turned her world, as she knew it, on it’s head. She was understandably overcome with emotion and truly couldn’t see any possible way that she could rise above the mess before her. Her pain was palpable. There ARE, undeniably, big boulders in her path. Something profound struck me in the moments that I was listening to her however…. We (every single one of us) would never feel the reward of ultimate joy if we didn’t feel the deep wounds of calamitous pain. That realization flooded over me like my favorite blanket and cup of coffee…and in some divine way, I felt warmth. She can do this! We all can.
When you go through deep waters I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2
In any devastating, debilitating, or sad situation sweet goodness still has its place. (I know I'm being all Anne of Green Gables... but it truly does.) My gentle reminder to you, friend, is that peace and joy don’t just happen. We are given a choice. Choose wisely. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, as my grandpa would say, and get going.
When you’re in the thick of "it" it can feel impossible and maybe even improbable that you will ever know delight or even simple calmness again. Take heed, you will, if you choose to. Life is not a zero sum game, both joy and pain have their place within it! Instead of trying to avoid the latter, which does seem like the most desirable option at times, embrace it. We either seize it and climb that mountain with both, or we allow ourselves to drown from not trying. In it's simplest form, it comes down to a choice.
I have a hot date tonight. We GET to celebrate ONE year! (Poor dude gets shot and now has two anniversaries to celebrate...Do you like how I finagled that one??? BRILLIANT... if I do say so myself.) One year of continued nightmares, rough days, abundant tears AND endless laughter, sweet moments and incredible memories. Both sides are in many ways synonymous with the other. The bumps and bruises that we have experienced on our hike upwards have enhanced the pleasure that we see and feel in the little things along the way. Each step brings with it both dust and abounding beauty. I will remember this day forever, but I will not stay at the bottom of that mountain. I am determined to take that sweet climb.