The beginning of a journey is usually hopeful. Anything can happen and we like to imagine all the good things. When a baby is born, they’re the most brilliant, kind, generous soul who will grow up to cure cancer for the world. When we get a new job it’s going to lead to an even better job, with awesome coworkers, and lots of money. Some would say a spirit like that is naïve, but even after everything I’ve been through…I SAY…we should be hopeful! It’s not misplaced.
When two people get married they enter a phase known affectionately as the honeymoon period. All is right with the world. Of all the billions of people on the planet they found THE ONE for them. They are going to be the ones to show all their friends and family how great marriage can be. They will be the few, the proud, the old married couple after 20 years STILL happily in love.
Why not think positive?
Why have the baby if all you can see are piles of diapers, flashes of fear, and rifling through drawers looking for pot when they are teens? Why even try for the promotion if all you see are the political wranglings it will take to maintain peace, or all the long hours it will take to succeed? And why get married at all if you know you’ll wake up in five years wondering who in the world you married?
It’s all a matter of perspective and willingness to allow life to be a little messy.
I’ve been designated an optimistic realist by most who know me well. I’m not afraid at looking at the raw facts, the obstacles, the issues that make something less than perfect. But instead of only seeing those obstacles, I’m completely driven to find a way around them. I never want the enemy to win. EVER. Don’t trade peace for mediocrity. If there is something wrong with love and understanding attempt to fix it!
God brings encouragement, forgiveness, love, wisdom and eternal HOPE. The enemy brings condemnation, seeks to break you down, and makes you believe there is no hope. God motivates you through love to look outside yourself to the good that can be done for the world and others. The enemy motivates selfish thoughts where we look out for number one thinking we are doing ourselves a favor.
The second I became a mother, this life stopped being about me. I didn’t stop wanting things and wanting to be me…but I understood for the first time that we are put on this planet for a higher purpose than just gratifying ourselves in work, pleasure, and desire.
I slowly began to learn that important lesson. It wasn’t over night. But there is a moment when you are on the floor after not having slept for ages, mopping up the vomit of your precious child when you realize you would do anything for that person. Anything. Love.
Love is self-sacrificing. Period. Any other kind of love is selfish and not truly love. When you truly love for the first time something snaps in you and the world changes.
It changes from a series of things I must do to achieve, or to maintain the upper-hand. To a series of opportunities to spread the unconditional love of God.
Like a beam of light shining down from heaven almost every mother has had that AHA moment….sometimes it also come when you find true love in a mate. But let’s face it we live in the world and the world and the life we live is sometimes very hard.
The toils of life can often pick away at that purity, that optimism, that hope – little by little – disappointment after disappointment – until we stop seeing ways around obstacle, we stop thinking about giving and become self-focused again. We begin to only see how much effort it will take to try. Effort we can’t imagine mustering.
Our life doesn’t often go as planned. The new job isn’t quite what we thought it would be. The commute is long, the boss a jerk and that raise? It never came. Our children, as amazing gifts they are, turn around one day and say, “I hate you!” After all that vomit we mopped up? Don’t they appreciate us? And that husband or wife we thought was near perfection does something extremely hurtful and thoughtless.
We find ourselves on a path we didn’t expect. We have to improvise. Now what? And we don’t know where to turn or what to do. I’ve been there on all counts. I’ve been without hope. It is a very dark and scary and very lonely place.
But the thing about dark moments is that they don’t last forever. No matter how bad it is, if you sit tight and you don’t give up…things change. That you can count on. Sometimes it is the dawn of a new day that brings with it that hope that was lost the previous night. Sometimes it takes longer…years even. But it will come. And that is the ultimate hope you have to cling to very tight.
I found myself single at ripe age of 40 with two teens after being married for 18 years. I had no clue what I would do, or even who I was. At that moment and for about a year, all I could see was sadness, fear, and obstacles. But the last four years have changed me. I wrote about my experience on a blog called Improvised Life. It chronicles my experience. There were a lot of twists and turns. Ones I could not have expected. Great happiness and great pain along the way. But in everything that happened to me I found hope again.
I rediscovered the girl who thought she could conquer the world with a can-do spirit. Instead of becoming jaded and negative I found that drive to make the world around me a better place again instead of repeating the mantra of “why me?”. This time, I don’t expect perfection…this time, I know there will be trials, and problems, and things won’t go my way. This time, I feel as though I’ve been put through rigorous training and am now getting a very happy opportunity to put all I’ve learned to the test.
I’m at a new beginning. Seventeen days ago I made a promise to a man; to love, honor, and cherish him for as long as we both shall live. I see that we have flaws but for some reason I once again believe that it is a matter of perspective and willingness to allow life to be a little messy. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It is not a fairytale. But there is a possibility of success and there is much happiness to be found.
So here’s to my new beginning! And here is to yours! Where ever you are, you have a chance to change your perspective, look for ways around your obstacles and find hope.
My hope and prayer is that somehow what I write here will encourage you toward that spirit of hope that surely saved me from despair and gave me the possibility of a happy ending. As difficult as it is to find your way improvising through life, it is a remarkable journey that should be relished and fully experienced.
Let’s experience it together!