It’s been one of those days. There were moments, more than one, when I wanted to hold my hands up to the sky and ask, “Can I erase the last 24 hours and have a do over?”
But that’s a fool’s wish. To wish that life could go backwards and erase, then place before us a new scene all fresh and sparkly clean, is not only futile, it’s self-limiting. Life has a way of serving up our greatest lessons in a bowl filled with needles. They prick us in the exact spot that needs to be healed. They find the wound that was already there, even if it has been buried for a long, long time, and dig in until we bleed fresh.
It’s not always obvious why we’re being pricked and prodded at. Or, why it may seem like we’re being asked to walk over a pile of red-hot coals in order to get to the next leg of our journey. But, when we allow ourselves to dig down to the essence — that spot that is rubbed raw and open from the wound — we can find a bit of the light behind the story we have just lived.
Today was one of the most challenging days of my life. Maybe not in the top ten, but I’d safely put in in the top twenty-five. It could have been much worse than it was. And, in retrospect, it perhaps wasn’t all that bad after all. If someone else had lived my day, she or he might have considered it less than great, but not all that bad in the greater scheme of things. Just a part of the life of a parent, they might say. To be expected, but not by me.
The events of the last 24 hours brought me out of my individual cocoon of dormant life. Threads were pulled until the raw exposed body remained and I was faced with the choice: Do I find another wrapping to hide inside, or do I face the elements head on. Here’s the thing about these choices, there’s really only one option. If we hide, life will simply find another way to unwrap us, and chances are, it will be a harsher exposure than the one we face at the present moment.
To hide is to put off the inevitable. We are here to learn and grow, and quite often that learning and growing is not just for our sake, but for others as well. Our lives weave together in a sophisticated complexity that our minds cannot wholly grasp. Sometimes it’s better not to ask the full depth of they “why,” then, but to accept the growth that is offered.
Therein lies the beauty. The raw self exposed begins to heal. Air breathes through the freshly opened wounds and the light that feeds life spreads its golden filaments to repair what was once broken. Now I find myself peering inside the wound(s), trusting the network that I cannot wholly understand. How my life is woven to others. Some I barely know, some I have known since conception. I find myself seeing the love that has already woven its threads through the hurt and the pain. I find trust and strength that I didn’t know was there. There is a vulnerability that feels both uncomfortable and embracing.
It could have been worse, much worse, and I am grateful that is wasn’t. Today has been a reminder, above all else, of what is constant and unchanging, albeit difficult to hold onto at times. And that, simply, is love. No matter how difficult we make it for ourselves to find it, it is always there. That constant pulse of life threading through all of us. Love. Pure and simple, yet infinitely complex in its reach. And so I breathe it in with each inhale and trust that it is always enough.