I am starting to think life is more about the bad times than the good ones.
Somewhere in my adulthood, I adopted this attitude of waiting for/anticipating/working towards a so-called settled life. A life with enough money in the bank, a wonderful man to love me, a home that has enough space with 4 bedrooms and a beautiful kitchen island-- happy, healthy kids, and a little something called balance. I always assumed at some point, I would, indeed consistently and contently live the easy life- free of stress and bad times. Today, I am convinced that life will never be easy— and I don’t want it to be, either.
When life is easy, sure, I smile and laugh a lot and say things like, “I wish I could pause time right now.” I dance and sing in the kitchen and in the car and I am the best version of myself because kindness and generosity and patience are easy to dole out when life is good. I pray prayers of “thank you” and talk to God about the good life. But when life is good, there is no growth; no challenge; no rising above. There is merely complacence. And even when I am drowning in gratitude for a life that is good for the moment, I am, for lack of a better word—merely coasting. I don’t want to give these times up, that is for sure; but I now know that I also don’t want to give up the bad times.
The bad times come and go and there is no predicting what they will bring or when they will knock on your door. A heartbreak here, a health issues there; bill collectors endlessly ringing your phone or that gut-wrenching worry about your own kids for whatever reason—bad times are inevitable. And when times are tough, I cry a lot and sleep a little. I listen to sad songs and belt them out through my tears and I swear I will never dance again. I realize that once again—I took everything in life for granted when life was good. I rely on other people more and I pray prayers of “help me” over and over and over again or maybe my faith wavers and I ask God “why me” through tears and a shaky voice.
But bad times are where the magic happens. Bad times change us— and it is up to us to decide if that is going to be for the better or for the worse. They force us to look in the mirror and decide who we want to be. They force us to be strong and vulnerable at the same time; to rely on God and stay in the moment. And every time I am hit with a you-didn’t-expect-this-curveball-of-an-event in life, I eventually remember that every other time in life when the going got tough, God did not abandon me. He has always made good from bad. He has always proven that every pain has a purpose. And he has without failure stayed beside me through it all, guided me, strengthened me and molded me into a better version of myself through the pain and tears. And I always do dance again.
I have been through my fair share of shit in life and there is not one thing I would change—because each struggle made me better, more grateful, stronger and closer to God. Each time I get through something that I otherwise swore I couldn’t, my faith is strengthened. And each time I see the miracle of unthinkable greatness coming from tragedy and pain, I am empowered and overwhelmed and tell myself, "next time, don't question God, just trust His plan and in his power."
Bad things have to happen. I can’t say I am looking forward to the next bad thing, but maybe, just maybe-- my faith won't waver next time. God is greater and more powerful than anything life can throw at me and it’s about time I remember that—especially when the going gets really, really tough. For now, all I can do is prepare my spirit, faith, body and mind to be strong enough to withstand the storm. Because I know there will be another one somewhere in my future.