Someone asked us the other day how we could continue to have a positive outlook on our current situation.
Granted, this is a hot mess right now.
We are entering another week of quarantine. The days are running together, I’m living in my yoga pants, and honestly am sick of cooking all the meals. Exactly how many times can three people eat??? Don’t get me started on the challenge of balancing distance learning for an 11 year old with special needs, sending my first responder off to work, and juggling my own career in a work from home setting. We are mourning our loss of normal.
But the truth is…..
We’ve done this before. Maybe not exactly, but very similar in nature.
We’ve dealt with our fair share of trauma, pain, heart ache, and hardship. We’ve been the under dogs. We always have grief for the life we thought we were supposed to have lapping at our feet. We have had to miss out on more special events, celebrations, and memories than I can count because one of us was sick or sidelined by our chronic health conditions. We’ve had the rug pulled out from under us, gotten sucker punched with a job loss, and had to dig ourselves out of some pretty horrific pits of despair. We’ve had days where I looked to my left and my right and the only people by my side were Callie and James. We’ve had days where simply getting out of bed was too much of an effort to make and days where we thought we were going to lose the only thing that mattered to us.
But you know what? Looking back on all of those experiences, those are the bricks that laid the foundation of who we are today. Now, looking back over our shoulder at the past….and finally hitting our stride, it’s easy to talk about our new normal. People like us, that have experience with defeat, that have known loss and grief–and found their way out of it? They have gratitude seared into their souls. They have compassion and empathy ingrained in them, an almost spiritual reverence for joy, and a sensitivity to the world that most aren’t afforded. Be it privilege, lack of life experience, or sheer luck; most people (thankfully) in life will not be forced to “adjust to a new normal.” My family, on the other hand, could write a book on it.
So it’s easy for us to find joy in the little things. It’s easy for us to be extremely thankful for what we have in the moment. It’s easy for us to look on the bright side. It’s easy for us to know what is important enough for us to expend emotional energy on. It’s easy for us to be positive. It’s easy for us to fall back on good habits that steer us towards growth. It’s easy for us to focus on the perfectly imperfect moments. It’s easy for us to tug out that one sliver of happiness. It’s easy for us to be grateful for small things like a hot cup of coffee, a good night’s sleep, and eating dinner together as a family. Because it’s very easy for us to remember falling asleep standing up at the foot of Callie’s hospital bed. Exhausted beyond all belief and praying for a miracle. Easy to remember when I was sick from the cancer treatment and not able to do something as simple as eat dinner as a family. It’s easy for us to be the light–because we’ve pulled ourselves out of the darkness. I’m a firm believer that the broken know how to love harder than most. Because honestly, once you’ve been in the dark, you learn to appreciate everything that shines.
I know it feels hard right now. I know it’s inconvenient, it’s a hassle, and it plain sucks. I know you are tired. I know you are hurting. I know it feels like right now you are being burnt and broken, torn apart at the seams. But you aren’t. You aren’t breaking–you are bending. You aren’t being torn apart–you are being rebuilt. Those cracks? That’s where the light will shine through. I promise you, in a few months time, we will all look back on these difficult days. We will be in our new normal. Changed a little bit perhaps, but stronger and more resilient. Full of pride for getting through that hard thing and with a new sense of gratitude. We will be reminded of the butterfly–proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful.