I was having a bad day. It was mostly self inflicted, as bad days (I’m learning) usually are, when I received a card from a friend. She, like me, is in a season of transition. A season of new baby meets old life meets figuring out expectations we didn’t know we had meets trying to figure it all out. (What does it all MEAN, we ask, and what should we DO about it?)
In her card she wrote:
transition = tumult
Yes. Yes that is it exactly.
I’ve been hearing the same message over and over again (in that confirming, affirming, rather annoying kind of way that you just KNOW is for you). The message is essentially this – you don’t change and grow through good things, you change through hard things. This isn’t particularly fair, but this is the way of life and growing. This is, the way it is.
I’ve always hated that saying.
It’s only been recently that I’ve understood why.
I don’t struggle with wanting more. I struggle with wanting the acquisition of “more” to be easy.
It never is.
So I dream and push and I chase understanding and growth which always puts me right back where I don’t want to be: someplace uncomfortable.
It places me in transition. Which places me in tumult. Which makes me pout.
“It is what it is,” people say. To which I get annoyed and wonder why people can’t just ever sympathize. (This is inevitably when I start to know, yet not quite admit, that sister is feelin sorry for herself.)
After receiving the card from my friend, I was talking to another friend who said, “You’re always where you’re supposed to be in life, even if it’s an uncomfortable spot.”
Again, the old feelings started to creep up.
“But I don’t WANT to be uncomfortable, ” I say to myself. Feeling uncomfortable is the PROBLEM. How do I FIX the discomfort?”
Then it hits me.
A conversation from the week before comes back to me. One where I ask in confusion and frustration, “If it doesn’t FEEL good it can’t BE good, can it?!?!”
She just smiled.
“I think you know the answer to that,” she said.
The hard things change us because they force us to confront so many things. Our expectations. Our weaknesses. Our own selfishness. Our entitlement.
I struggle with feeling like hard things mean something other than they are simply hard. I struggle with judging myself based on the ease (or lack there of) with which I move through my day. I struggle with believing that only the good emotions are the good emotions. I struggle with wanting more and wanting more to be easy.
At the beginning of this particular “bad day,” my dearest friend in the world was texting me. She wrote, “My soul would not be as affected if it was a small thing that didn’t matter to me.”
I’m learning that hard things aren’t bad, and hard experiences aren’t a judgement on who I am. I’m learning that my more difficult to feel/express emotions are just as valuable as the ones with which I love to feel and express. And I’m learning not to feel bad that I feel bad. The things that hurt my heart hurt for a reason. Sure, I need to learn how to ask what these emotions have to tell me rather than simply carry them around, felt but unacknowledged, but I don’t need to fix them. I don’t need to be rushed to joy.
And I’m learning the gift of friends who essentially say, “It is what it is.” Because you know what?
Ekhart Tolle says that stress is wishing things were different.
Gosh if that aren’t the truth.
Acknowledging that “it is what it is” means that we face life as it is. We don’t judge ourselves or the situation, we acknowledge. Then, if the situation contains things that we don’t desire for our life, we can take steps to create change, one thing at a time. But these steps comes from a place first, of peace. First, of acknowledgement. First, of non-judgement. First, of empowerment, because we know that we have been empowered to choose what we do next.
We don’t have to stay here.
We don’t sit and pine and wish that things were different. We don’t moan and groan about how hard things are (that is what judgement looks like, when we assign a meaning to the situation). We don’t live in fear of the past or anxiety of the future. We start exactly where we are. And we take the next step. And then the next. And then the next.
We lean in to the tumult. We are challenged by it. We feel the full spectrum of emotions that are caused by it. We grow. And we know that not every step will feel good, but that ultimately it IS good, because we are good, and we were created to create good.
We are exactly where we are supposed to be.