The Upside of Emotional Crashes
I’ve lived a helluva life. In a little over a decade I’ve moved at least a dozen times, been in two car-totaling crashes, and been through two divorces. Those are the things I can quantify. The list doesn’t include financial crashes, computer crashes and emotional crashes. I’ve wondered what I’m missing that I require these hard lessons over and over. Is it just a string of bad luck? Did I sign up for this in some way? Is this just the way life goes? What gives anyway?
Do You Like Who You Are?
In talking about this with a wise, and honest girlfriend she asks, “Would you rather be the person you are today, or the person you were before you went through all this?” Of course my answer is something snide like, “I’d like to be who I am today without having to go through all this pain to get here.” Well duh. Wouldn’t we all? Unfortunately we don’t get it both ways. I’m grateful that all I’ve experienced hasn’t hardened my heart but has instead softened me and launched me more toward who I am ultimately becoming. A mentor I had years ago used to say “If you’re going to get kicked when you’re down just determine the direction you want to go.”
Was It Worth It?
I was doing my meditative reading this morning and pondering broken hearts. I had a vision of my heart being pummeled much like a tough piece of meat being tenderized by a mallet. Yikes. Was my heart really that hard? “That” hard is kind of relative, but I know my heart was hard-er, more closed, isolated, stuck, shut down, untouchable, and haughty than it is now. Was the pain worth it? For an open heart? Yes. The trick is to keep it open even in the face of such extreme circumstances. I just needed to be reminded that I’ve gone through all this for a purpose. I can put up with a lot more if I know there is a purpose other than just making me miserable.
Taking the Scenic Route
My friend and I pondered the choice points of our lives. If things had gone the way I thought they should what would my life be like? A big house with a picket fence and my being overly involved with 2.5 cookie-cutter kids? Would I really chose that? I don’t think so. When the shaking stops I notice that I have a pretty good life. It is interesting to ponder life’s turning points and re-choose.
Years ago I was hiking on a fiercely hot dusty boring and uneventful trail. It was miserable so I climbed high on the hill next to the trail, over one high ridge and then over another. I didn’t know where I was but at least I was off that blasted trail. The going was tough because the hill was steep and I slid backwards often in the sandy ground. I thought I should get back down to the trail before I lost it (the trail, not my mind) and made my descent fairly quickly, luckily arriving at the only water hole on the entire trail—a lush green oasis in the middle of the dry and hot sands of the trail. Spirit/God pointed out to me that the jaunt I’d just taken was a metaphor for my life. I could have plodded along the hot, dusty, boring path never questioning, never seeking, never deviating, and arrived at the water hole, or I could have taken the path I chose, which was more physically demanding, less stable, two steps back to one step forward, but ultimately with bigger vistas and the excitement of adventure. Both culminated at the oasis. The hot dusty trail represented my life in marriage; the less stable route represented leaving my marriage. I would have ended up in the same place either way. One was more scenic and adventurous than the other.
For a Purpose
I have a feeling that in another few years I will understand what this time of my life has been about. I’m getting the sense that all these smaller losses/transitions are taking place under the umbrella of a longer season of transition that is ultimately in service of a greater goal that I can’t see yet. A forest for the trees kind of thing. I hope this gives you the hope to keep on, keeping on, even in the face of a lot of events you don’t understand. It has sure helped me.