And BE there.
Be present for it. Don’t just tolerate it. OK, maybe that’s a lot to ask.
But be open to what it can bring you. Hang on. Hang in. Know that it won’t be that way forever, and that it is going to build character and faith and strength and courage. That it is a part of the bigger picture. That it helps make you who you are. You believe in this. You believe in the process. You believe in the work.
I have been feeling and hearing and sitting with and reminding myself of things like this over and over and over again lately.
A few recent examples …
One – When I was in the grocery store on a Wednesday night recently with my two boys, ages seven and two. Both of them had this insane amount of energy and I was feeling zapped of all of mine. Their ears had stopped working, which happens sometimes to my kids, as they were deaf to any pleas from me for good behavior. My memory of that night is a bit of a fuzz but I do recall vividly that my boys were throwing wedges of cheese at one another across the aisles, that they were pretending to be Star Wars characters and that they were talking (rather loudly) about how they were going to poke each other in the weenie and hit Mommy’s “wobbly butt” with their imaginary light sabers. Awesome. My mind was like mush and I felt exhausted, but I specifically remember thinking one thing extremely clearly — “OH MY GOSH GET ME OUT OF HERE!!” I wanted that magic escape button and I wanted it NOW. I tried to remember to just breathe, to clear my head and to remind myself that this is a part of my journey of being a parent. To trust in the process, that even the times I feel stuck in the muck have a ton of purpose to them. To remember that storms like this will and do happen on a daily basis as a parent of three little kids – maybe not to this extreme necessarily every day (and honestly sometimes they are way worse actually and sometimes they are a lot more mellow). But storms like this will and do pass through, without fail, every single time. And they will and do make me appreciate the calm on the other side of them all that much more. And in the end I think they make me a more patient mother and person. They also provide great comedy to me later, once I have a chance to reflect on them and realize how hilarious my kids are. Because they are really really freaking funny.
|another recent moment – when Gus climbed in the tub as it was filling for his bath … before I got his clothes off!|
Two – When I was in yoga class a few weeks ago late on a Thursday night … I forced myself to go to the class – after a long day with the kids I was tired and found myself conjuring up all sorts of excuses for why I didn’t HAVE to go. I eventually made it to the class (thanks in large part to my husband who encouraged me and reminded me how much I would regret it if I skipped. How every time I go, I come home much happier and lighter than I was when I left the house.) Towards the end of a very challenging class, my teacher had us in a posture called Frog for what felt like was FOREVER. My body felt literally split down the middle, open and raw and ripped and pulled in opposite directions from my hips down (sounds fun doesn’t it?). I felt totally vulnerable emotionally as a result of being physically so uncomfortable. I am not kidding when I say I HATED it. It was agonizing. I knew I could make the choice to come out of it though, to curl up into child’s pose and rest or even walk out the door of that hot room and just call it a night. I kind of had an escape button! Nobody would stop me, it would be easy. But I also trusted that my teacher wouldn’t leave us there forever, that she had a reason for bringing us to that posture when she did, and that there was growth to be done there. That this was a ripe opportunity for me to practice letting go, practice surrendering myself to a very uncomfortable moment, practice trusting that I would be through it soon. So I hung on. And when we finally came into rest pose I was relieved. I felt renewed and relaxed and stretched out and serene and whole, and it lasted well beyond the moment I left the class. I did come home rejuvenated, happy and peaceful inside and out. If I had decided to get up and leave I think my satisfaction with that decision would have been very short-lived. I would have regretted it, would have wondered if I could have toughed it out, and would have been pretty cranky pretty soon after leaving I think.
And Three – my most recent marathon in Richmond a little over a week ago. The marathon itself was another stepping stone in my life, not only as a runner but just as person on this great green Earth. I said in my recap about that race, that I really think of every marathon, and honestly in some way every run, as practice at not quitting. Practice at toughing it out through difficult times. Practice at trusting that you will get through the pain and the hurt and the discomfort that inevitably comes your way, and that you will come to the other side of it with more gratitude, courage and strength than before you started. Practice at trusting that there is a significant purpose to that part of the journey.
And I have to look back on it all and smile. Because there is so much goodness that comes out of the moments we have to endure discomfort. Whether the discomfort comes in the form of cheese wedges being thrown at you, feeling stuck and pinned down in an uncomfortable spot or battling negative thoughts and physical pain while running a marathon, WHATEVER it is, you will get through it. It’s a part of the process of growing. And it’s right where you’re meant to be.