Place Of Transformation
"Grapes must be crushed to make wine. Diamonds form under pressure. Olives are pressed to release oil. And seeds grow in the darkness. Whenever you feel crushed, under pressure, pressed, or in darkness, you're in a powerful place of transformation."
From day to day, our lives can seem mundane, uneventful. And isn't that the goal? No drama, no major life catastrophes? Just enjoying the life you've worked so hard to create. One brief call with my beloved grandma and I'm reminded why living 1,500 miles from my family has it's advantages. I like a quiet, peaceful life if it can be managed.
But then you run into an old friend along the way and they ask what's new in your life. And it hits you, like a thousand pounds of bricks, that actually a lot has been happening. Too much perhaps. Like where do I even start? I can most assuredly say that the fourth quarter of my 2021 has been nothing short of chaos. Covid, health scares, hospital trips, business challenges, leaving a job, the holidays, loneliness, new opportunities, starting a new job, selling a house, finding a new one, saying goodbyes and moving (again). Not to mention the strain that all of this places on my marriage and family. I find myself in a constant state of transition, grasping at strands of consistency.
My handful of close friends, who have the (sometimes unfortunate) pleasure of being my confidants, will check in and see how things are going. "Well I think I'm just one step away from a complete melt down." You know that feeling you get where if one more things happens, you fear you'll lose it entirely? When all the shreds of hope and sanity are hanging by a precarious thread? But then an incredible thing happens. One more brick gets laid upon your already heavy-laden shoulders and guess what? You don't crumble. (If I can manage just one more brick, you tell yourself.) You might be crushed, under pressure, pressed, or in darkness, but you keep on carrying on. And in these moments of choice, because they are a choice, you choose a place of transformation.
I originally wrote that we keep moving forward because there isn't really any other option. At least that's how I feel in the midst of it. But then I thought of all the people in my life that I have witness choose another path, a path that led to their destruction. And I realized that there is always a choice. A choice of response. How we respond to challenges define us. This is our strength. This is our power. And I will not let these last three months derail the beauty that can be my life. I will prevail. I am the princess and the knight. I am the heroine of my own story.
Acutely aware of the brokenness in this world, I still choose to believe in fairy tales and magic and happily every afters. "Act your way into thinking," my sister-in-law recently reminded me. While the mind is a battlefield, especially of a philosopher, sometimes it is placing one foot in front of the other that gets you to the other side. If we are what we repeatedly do, then let us repeatedly do that which makes us better, stronger.
(adjective): characteristic of or suitable to a fairy tale; marked by seemingly unreal beauty, perfection, luck, or happiness
(noun): a story involving fantastic forces and beings ; a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending
My life isn't a perfect fairy tale, but it's my fairy tale. There are fantastic forces at work, yes, but I am committed to making it beautiful and happy. Do I sometimes wish that I could rip out a few pages (or chapters) and rewrite them because they suck? Also yes. Money, jobs, homes, friendships, they can come and they can go. But happiness is a state of mind, and no one can take that from you (though they can influence it if you allow them).
An unimaginable eternity is promised to those who believe that Jesus is Savior of the world, so my happy ending is already secured. But faith, too, is a choice. One that only you can make. God offers grace and joy in salvation, the truest transformation of the soul, but the choice to accept is yours alone.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew11:28-30)