"In three words I can sum up everything
I've learned about life: it goes on." ~ Robert Frost
for so long, this quote was among my favorites. i clung to it during times that it felt like life really might not go on or if it did, it would be completely and utterly against my will. i felt this way after the death of my step-dad. i felt this way after the death of my marriage. these words aren't so much inspirational as they are pragmatic, but at the time - i couldn't discern any difference between the two. after years spent living in my own delusion, i needed the realism to keep me grounded. i needed to know - to believe - that life really would go on. and it did. but for a long time, time was the only thing moving forward. i was standing still.
at twenty-two, i had a dream of what my life would look like. i wanted the american dream - with all the trimmings. and i poured every fiber of my being into building that life, so much so that i completely lost myself in the process and in the end, there was only a facade that was beautiful on the outside, yet completely one-dimensional. the winds of adversity didn't have to blow too hard to send it crashing down.
all of my time and all of my energy went into doing all of the things that encompassed the roles i held. organizing and planning and cleaning and errands and childcare. but, as kristin armstrong wrote [from having lived and learned herself]: "The beauty of a wife is not found in those things. The beauty of a wife is in her being, not in her doing. During those years I perfected my doing and neglected my being." oh, me too. me. too.
on a side note, frost's life was wrought with more tragedy that the vast majority of us will ever know of. one proverbial storm after another, perhaps the clouds never broke long enough to see the sunlight. but the truth - my truth - [which is all anything in this blog really is] is that life doesn't just go on. oh, it may for a while. it may just go on for a long while. there is a time for everything and "weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning". [psalm 30:5].
and just like that, morning came. and the sun was shining in my face again. so warm and bright and refreshing that i didn't want to shade myself from it, but close my eyes and bask in it. i was no longer struggling to survive, but beginning to thrive. no longer enduring life, but beginning to enjoy it.
i had already tasted God's grace and goodness on this side of life. on this side of divorce. i was constantly sustained by it and at the same time, felt unworthy it. oh, i had hoped this day would come. but to be perfectly honest, i wasn't certain that it ever would. in the beginning i was so much like a baby bird flung from a nest and spent much of the last three years feverishly flapping my wings. i was - at last - learning how to fly.
i looked in the mirror and began to recognize the reflection. eventually, i would look in the mirror and begin to like reflection. and this whole season of self-discovery became less daunting and scary and more... enthralling. i was learning or relearning things i had never known or long forgotten about who i was. i had a favorite color. a favorite movie. a favorite song. a love for music. a love for photography. and a newly developed love for running and fitness and travel and a plethora of other things. i opened my eyes to the world around me. to the people around me. to the innumerable blessings that are a daily part of my life: my children, my family and the very best friends anyone could ever ask for. my life was no longer just going on... my life was ... my life is... beautiful.
all this to say words i never imagined i would say three years ago, perhaps even three months ago and that is that i have never been so happy or so hopeful or so joyful or so content with myself and my life.
"Life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured."
- Gordon Hinckley