Your Life Will Be Different…But It Will Be Amazing
My niece Livi drew this picture for her daddy the other day, and it moved me so much, I wanted to share it with all of you. The deep wells of wisdom that little one holds in her 8-year-old soul! As those of you who have been keeping up with my blog over the past couple of weeks know, my brother-in-law Kevin was in a near-fatal car wreck two weeks ago today and lost his leg as a result. And now Kevin finds himself at a Ground Zero of sorts in his life, learning to do everything all over again. Even things as simple as putting on his clothes and getting himself to the restroom have to be relearned. And you know what? He has kept a positive spirit and a great attitude throughout the entire process. It’s been such an inspiration for us all to witness.
It got me thinking about how a lot of us are at some form of Ground Zero in our lives, myself included. I’m currently in the midst of my own Ground Zero, career-wise and even on a personal level. I am trying to break free from my publisher (for many reasons that I hope to be able to share with you someday) and do my own thing. It’s funny, because most writers self-publish while longing for a publisher…while I have a publisher but am longing to self-publish. I’m trying to focus less on “branding” and more on just being real. Being myself. Being Mandy. I don’t want to build a brand anymore. I want to build a body of writing that matters…that makes a difference…that meets people right where they’re at. Personally, I’m trying to figure out how I can best add value to the world and positively impact the lives of others. Whether that takes shape in the form of becoming a foster parent or a child advocate or starting a non-profit (I have a really awesome idea I’ve been toying with) or volunteering or whatever…I don’t know yet. But I’m no longer satisfied to just live life in my own little bubble, shielded from the needs of the people I love and care about and the world as a whole. I want to be out there, on the front lines…not spending all my time talking about helping people but getting out there and actually doing it.
I’m also really, really ready for my “person” to arrive. My “lobster,” as Phoebe said of Ross and Rachel on Friends. I’m ready to be a wife and mother. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true. Being with my nieces almost every day for the past two weeks has shown much I’m ready for my own little family. It’s also shown me how I can step up to the plate and even surprise myself when it comes to multi-tasking and nurturing and mothering. It’s been a very nice realization to come from a very difficult time.
So now I want to talk to you in the midst of your Ground Zero…whatever it may be. It doesn’t have to be something as monumental as losing a limb or almost losing a family member to be life-altering. Perhaps you’re going through a breakup. The person you thought was your forever walked away with no explanation and now you’re left picking up the pieces. Perhaps you lost your job and have no idea where next month’s rent is coming from. Maybe a lifelong dream of yours has recently been snuffed out, leaving you questioning everything about your path and your purpose. Maybe you haven’t heard from God in a really long time and you’re starting to wonder if He cares…or if He even exists.
Here is what I want you to know. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to ask questions. To yell and scream and feel and even cuss if you need to. It’s okay to be right where you’re at, without trying to frantically search for the purpose that will come from your pain or the message that will come from your mess. I’m finding that some pain doesn’t serve a purpose. Sometimes pain is just pain…and we can let it be just that. We can feel it without trying to heal it. We can bring our fist down hard on all the feel-good, sing-song, empty platitudes and send the pieces scattering right along with the shattered pieces of our hearts. WE CAN. Society has taught us that when we find ourselves at Ground Zero, we have to immediately pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and start searching for the silver lining…but I’m here to tell you: It doesn’t have to be that way. Life is hard and we can let it be. We have to let it be. It’s the only way to reach a place of acceptance with our new situation, our new set of circumstances, our new LIFE.
“Your life will be different…but it will be amazing.”
Your life WILL be different. Whatever you lost: A person, a love, a job, a limb, a dream, your way…it will be different. There’s no minimizing that. But accepting that there’s no minimizing that and choosing to keep putting one foot in front of the other anyway…THAT’S when the amazing part is going to kick in. Realizing that the worst has happened, or at least the very bad has happened, and you SURVIVED. You survived and you felt and you lived it and you didn’t run from it or try and turn it into some glittery “aha!” moment…BUT YOU ENDURED AND YOU PREVAILED.
If that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is.
God never promised we wouldn’t know pain. He isn’t the author of it, but He isn’t the bodyguard blocking it from us, either. Jesus Himself knew intense, agonizing pain. The worst kind, as a matter of fact. Betrayal. False accusations. A humiliating death on a cross for a crime He didn’t commit. No, God never promised us we wouldn’t know pain. That we wouldn’t know Ground Zero moments and dark nights of the soul. What He DID promise was to be with us in the midst of our pain. To help shoulder our burdens. To bring beauty from ashes. To help us accept the different so we can get to the amazing.
…Now “up, up, up, and away!” to the next chapter of our lives and whatever it may hold.