My recent Facebook Status: “I am completely happy with my life.”
As of this moment 35 people on my Facebook page “liked” it. Which reminded me of a truth that I had forgotten, I have surrounded myself with people who want me to be happy. People who for the most part know my strength and many of my struggles and who want the best for me. Who are excited when I am excited, who mourn when I mourn, but who also celebrate when I celebrate. We all need a cheering section, our tribe, our flock, a group of people that want the best for us, who are in our corner, who see us through the hard times. These people are the number one reason why I lay my head on the pillow at night with a smile on my face and a prayer of gratitude in my heart.
After pressing enter I started to wonder- is it really true? That is a bold statement. A while ago I would have waited for my life to be “perfect” for me to write that. There are still a lot of places I struggle in my life, there are people I love who are hurting and therefore I hurt for them, there are things that aren’t “perfect” (i.e. the way “my” life plan was “supposed” to go)- but yet- in spite of that I am happy. I am perfectly imperfect, and so is my life.
I have a lot of people I care about in my life that are going through significant things, cancer, infertility, new babies, babies in NICU’s, divorce, unhappy marriages just to name a few over the past week. Thinking back there has never been a time when someone wasn’t in the hospital, or struggling with something significant, but in the past I would have felt like it was a betrayal if I was happy when they were suffering. It has finally dawned on me that if there are people in my life there will be illnesses/drama/issues that will come up. I can still care deeply for them, and I will hurt when they hurt, but if I wait for all of my friends and family to be happy and healthy before I can be- I will never get there.
If I wait for me to have no struggles, no worries, I will never get there. Or if I do it is because I have stopped growing, stopped learning, stopped reaching for my dreams and I will be too stifled and to afraid of losing it all to enjoy it anyway.
If I wait until all of the things fall into place before I allow myself to be happy I will never get there.
I have decided that I want peace and happiness over worry. Too much of what I used to worry about isn’t worth my time and I have learned to worry less and be happy more. And the things I used to worry about happening, still don’t happen, and if they do I have to deal with them anyway.
When I appreciate each moment as it comes, when I recognize that there will always be reasons to celebrate and reasons to mourn, when I remember there is always beauty to be found, love to be shared, hope to be had I can say pretty much every day “Today was amazing”.
I am realizing too that it is becoming less about the “things” that are happening to me, and more about who I am, how I show up for my life that I am concerned about. Less of life happening “to” me, and more of me deciding who I am going to be in the midst of it. Like it or not life will happen. Life will rock you to your core when you least expect it, it will shake you up, it will wear you down, it will fill you up, it will send you places you never even dreamed, regardless of whether you think you are or aren’t ready it will happen.
When having a conversation about difficult times in life being “opportunities for growth”, and opportunities to create and find meaning in life a friend offered some wisdom her friend frequently comes back to: “It’s all gift.” I decided to try that on for a bit, play with that idea, and let it simmer for awhile. I have to say it has worked for me. Even things over time that aren’t wrapped in pretty paper or topped with a pretty bow still turned out to bring me lessons, open my eyes, and crack my heart wide open to let the love in.
Living my life in this way allows me to find the beauty in the midst of pain, it allows me to revel in the moments that are going to exist no matter what, so I choose to make the best of them. It allows me to release the control of having to make things “fit”, or “turn out” and instead I get to embrace each moment as a gift.
And that means that I am completely happy with my life.
And it’s all gift.