The first day of spring has come and gone. My family spent the majority of the weekend tending to the yard. Refreshing the landscape with new flowers and building a covered garden bed for our vegetables required all hands on deck. Our boys were eager to help and we noticed the absence of complaining which normally accompanies any degree of work. Despite a few cuts, bruises, and sore muscles, it was a wonderful weekend together. One that will be stored in the feel good part of my memory center for a long time to come. I cherish moments like these because there was a time when I thought life would never feel normal again.
This week marks five years since I came out to my husband. Keeping track of important dates is something we all can relate to. Some anniversaries are happy celebrations and others are more somber reminders of painful events depending on the circumstances. My remembrance of this particular event is important for many reasons and a truthful reminder of the fact that life goes on. Get used to this sentence. It is a favorite of mine.
While this day was one of the most difficult of my life, it was also the first step toward some of the best days of my life. On that day life felt like it stopped. It was impossible to imagine when things would ever be normal or feel settled again. My assessment was clouded by the emotions, fears, uncertainty, and inevitable changes which were unleashed with my words. In those moments, the last thing our minds are able to process is the truth that life goes on. But it did and does for us all.
Life goes on is a simple yet profound three word sentence. We may not believe it when we are down in the weeds of a situation, but with the passing of time it proves to be true. For example, when a loved one dies, many struggle with feeling like they can’t continue on in their absence. It is natural to feel that way and commonly a part of the grieving process.
Dealing with any change is hard, especially when it comes to loss. Death is the obvious form of loss. Divorce, changes in important relationships, or a variety of other life events can bring about overwhelming emotions which make it hard to move forward also. When I was a junior in high school my parents moved our family to Florida. I was convinced life was over. My reaction was what you would expect from a sixteen year old daughter. This belief was played out in my actions and thinking. I was quite a piece of work those first few months.
At some point I looked around me and saw that life was happening regardless of my kicking and screaming. This was the first time I realized that whether I moved forward or not was up to me. Spending time being miserable was preventing me from experiencing many great things. When I gave up the fight I was able to enjoy the new path from a more positive place.
Stopping to process and deal with emotions during those moments is not the same thing as becoming stuck in them. Only with the passage of time are we reminded that life does go on. Hindsight can be a wonderful tool in moving past our less than joyful moments if we choose to focus on the positive. When we are knocked down, it is very hard consider anything other than the hurt or pain that is present. If you stub a toe, it is very difficult to put a smile on your face.
Some fight for things which may never achieve any outcome other than what is already there. Many spend a large chunk of time and energy dwelling on the hurt and unpleasant feelings when things change. Others become hell bent on twisting themselves in to pretzels in order to avoid the inevitable. I have done it all. Always at my own expense. Negativity, while a natural response, can disrupt the natural flow of our lives and can deeply affect us in many ways if it becomes the default mode of thinking.
Life goes on looks different for each of us. It is an action sentence that happens regardless of whether or not our outlook is sunny or cloudy. In every moment we have choices. One is to resist and remain stuck in the mess. Another, more freeing, choice is to concede. Surrendering allows us to process and ride out the waves of emotions in a healthy way.
I look back now and see so many wonderful things that emerged from the most heartbreaking conversation in my life. On that night, life felt like it stopped not only for me, but for my entire family. It took time for everything to morph in to the new and at least two years for the rivers of tears to stop, but life went on and each of us grew in ways we never thought possible. Regardless of your current circumstance or situation you may be struggling to move beyond, remember the movement of life will accommodate your every need and even bring more blessings than can be counted, eventually. Fortunately, I know much more about this truth than I do how to successfully grow vegetables or keep the squirrels away from them.