The challenge was: blog every day for 31 days in October. I’m actually laughing thinking about it.
I knew it was a stretch. I knew my husband had not one, but two trips away this month. I knew I had a number of hospital days and appointments. I knew that I was barely making it through the days as it was, only to add another layer of complication. And all this sounds more and more like a recipe for disaster; one more overachieving pipe dream to add to my “Reasons-I’m-a-Giant-Failure” diatribe whenever emotion overwhelms reason.
But it actually helped.
All 16 out of 31 days that I actually succeeded, and even the other six posts I started but never finished.
I told my stories. I put thoughts and hopes and confessions into black and white and sent them out into the world. Somehow those parts of my life make a little more sense to me after that. I suspect it’s the magic behind talk therapy, sympathetic pastors and bar tenders, and the best in-case-of-a-rainy-day friendships.
It’s important to feel the feelings, even the ugly ones… especially the ugly ones. To parse our own words, finding some amount of meaning and purpose in every experience. To be heard and see the reflection of our thinking in another.
A commentor raised some good questions about the nature of anger a couple weeks ago. My friend made the point that anger itself is healthy and possibly necessary. The counselor I saw yesterday poked the same spot.
Could it be that the emotions and the experiences I label as ugly are simply human? Unpleasant, maybe. Difficult, for sure. But not the enemy. Why do I default to a binary interpretation of the world? As if I must filter everything I feel, everything I am, into good or bad.
Maybe life isn’t full of monsters after all. Not even the messy, scary, hard things… Maybe this is just life. God knows I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying, trying, trying. I’m no more or less: loved, and acceptable, and the person I should be, for it. The verse keeps coming to mind: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…” (Gal 5:1). Freedom. A free life.
It’s time for me to stop battling every little thing and just live. That’s what I’ve learned this past month. Battling life’s monsters has become living freely.
Finding the beauty. Pressing into pain. Giving myself permission to struggle, and fail, and try again. Giving other people permission too. Hoping for the best. Forgiving. Deepening faith. Letting go.
The monsters aren’t so scary after all.
Except for cancer. Cancer can still kiss my ass.