We are now living in a world of uncertainty. School, childcare, jobs, elderly parents, savings, and overall health all in flux. Many people are having a hard time with this and are feeling the iron grip of anxiety. I started to be sucked into this void. My stomach was in knots, my sleep a mess, muscles aching, so distracted with worry that I couldn’t focus on anything else. Paralyzed with stress. Then, somehow I found another way.
Here’s a text I sent to a friend the other day,
OMG, my life can’t get any worse and yet, I’m so happy with my life at the same time. Today was Atrocious and yet I’m happy. Hmmmm.
Perhaps it is exhaustion. I couldn’t live at that level of heightened fight or flight any longer. Maybe, it was the death of my loved one reminding me what really matters. Or, I could have grown through the inner work I have done this year. It could be a side effect of having gone through hell enough times to know I can handle it. I could have reached a point of being resigned to a fate bigger than what I can control.
I don’t know which reason it is, but I am at peace. I am actually a tad exhilarated with the knowledge that something exciting and different is around the corner and I know that myself, and my family, can handle it. We are made of something brilliantly resilient and we can take whatever life throws at us. We may have to sell our lovely house. We may lose every penny of our savings. Long drawn-out court battles may be looming. Debt may follow us into our next phase of life. And yet...
I love life. I am happy. My children (and step-children) are lovely, strong, intelligent, good people who ride the currents of life with grace and aplomb. My husband finds a way to care for us, with food, cuddles, and strength, no matter what happens. Some of our most loving and truthful moments as a family have been under duress. The moments that stand apart in our lives as a testament to who we are, have been when we weathered a storm and came out the other side, still alive and committed to our truths.
I was led in a meditation the other day, by another amazing soul who gives without constraint and rides the waves of uncertainty with equal grace, and when she posed the question, “I am…” and asked us to fill in the blank, I felt so calm when the answer came to me.
I am...not alone.
As the tears cascaded down my cheeks, I felt the side hug of something. Was it my loved one lost, God, my own self? I do not know. But it was enough to comfort me in a way that no one else can. I am not alone in my uncertainty. We are holding each other. Love is all around us and that is all that we need to continue on in this life.
Who knows what is waiting around the corner? As I tell my children, it could always be something worse. What if today is as good as it gets? And when they stress about an uncomfortable circumstance they are about to face, I remind them that I know them and that they will find a way to make the best of it, no matter what, because that is who they are, and who I raised them to be. I am so proud of the people that I have helped to raise. They are amazing.
Watching someone fight terminal illness teaches you that every day counts. The sick ones, the chemo ones, the days when we are adjusting to our new reality, the ones we spend waiting to see if things will get better or worse, they all count. At some point, we need to live even during the times of suffering, because they count. I made a plaque years ago for my dear friend who recently passed. It said,
Life doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
It has never been more true than it was while I was watching her life come to its premature ending, and certainly never more true than it is now. We never know when our story is coming to an end. We know the beginning, we know the middle, but who knows when it is wrapping up? When everything you have done up until this point needs to now stand on its own as representative of your entire journey. Her journey was epic, noteworthy, and admirable, even as short as it was. She lived a life worth living even through her suffering, challenges, frustrations, and whatever life threw at her. When she lost someone she cared about to cancer, a person she should have hated, but indicative of who she was, she absolutely adored, she embraced the saying,
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.
And she danced in the rain...oh boy, did she. She danced with her “Just Dance” until the end. We all danced with her. And my friends, it’s time for us to dance. To roll with the punches, rock with the waves, and embrace wholeheartedly the unknown that we are stepping into. We don’t know if the children will attend school or daycare, we don’t know if one of us will become ill. We know not what our future holds, but as I tell my children, did we ever? We love to delude ourselves that we have some sort of control over our lives, but when a diagnosis of brain cancer appears out of the blue one day, can we pretend that we could have outplayed that? That if we just planned more, worked harder, or knew what the future would bring, we could have outsmarted our destiny?
So here we are my friends. Today counts. Tomorrow is unknown. Let’s live the hell out of our one beautiful life and dance through the thunderstorm that is upon us.