I honestly don’t remember anyone saying life would be easy.
Nope, no one did. Not once.
Then again, as I recall, no one ever threw up a yellow flag that cautioned we would each find moments in our lives that would be entirely black either. No one said it would be so dark that sometimes you won’t even be able to see the road. Or that, for some, life would give you twice as much as your hands could physically hold. Or that sometimes, after life has dealt you some awfully hard blows, it will also chuckle at you as it throws on a few more.
Life has a sense of humor like that.
Some chapters of life, as my son would say, are just nasty boogers. It’s a title he gave to his fourth grade teacher during one of his own dark melting down moments and the term has remained faithful in our family ever since.
The undeniable truth is that there will be darkness and even though life dishes the nasty-booger-moments out, life isn’t as quick to offer up simple answers or give us the light we want when we want it. There are those darker days when the answers sit under the shadows and only time and struggle will unveil them. The kind of time and struggle that is never easy, fun, filled with giggles or even warm.
Time can be slow. Time isn’t always kind or comfortable.
In the darker places, the best you can really do is keep trying to move forward based solely on instinct, hope and love. Some days you will hold on by a thread. Some days you will simply hope the inner voice you sometimes hear will show you a bit of grace and keep guiding you forward, one baby step at a time, through the blackness.
Thankfully, and a thought that’s worth holding onto during those dark-nasty-booger-moments is that, believe it or not, these moments are worth it. I know, I know….it won’t seem like it at the time but, later…maybe even much later, they absolutely are. What I have discovered, on this journey, is the blackness is where the strength grows and where character is born. The blackest moment holds the deepest strength. That barely-holding-on-nasty-booger-black-moment is the very moment when you get to see who you are because this is the moment when the ‘who’ you are evolving into begins appearing, growing, building. Growth, for darn sure, ain’t easy and it’s not something everyone does well or with grace but, eventually, it’s a good thing. Sure, scary and lonely too and hopelessly full of uncertainty and… it’s still good.
It is during these frightening, hunkered down moments when all the clarity is muddied and you think you are breaking, when you step away from the crowds, the comfort and even the well traveled path and you touch upon the bare bones of who you truly are because dark moments are when we stretch.
In that uncharted territory, in the pain and the unknown and the hurt, is when we get that glimpse of who we really are. This is when emotional muscle and back bone are layered into the “who” that we are becoming. And though there will be times when you want to give up, give in and wave your white flag in defeat…don’t. Hang on longer, hunker down a little lower because who you are becoming matters. Meandering away from shiny, sweet and perfect and evolving into seasoned, useful and wise is not easy but, the honest truth is, shiny, sweet and perfect is also shallow and useless. It takes the nasty-booger-moments to grow the strength and wisdom this life needs us to have.
I see the friends in my circle who have been roughed up by life and these are the ones I love most. Though they have weathered their share of darkness, they carry the kind of light and grace that shines brightness on the darkest of days. These friends who have weathered the darkness and have made it through the nasty-booger-moments are the ones I pull myself nearer to. They seem to have more love and light in reserve to share. Their wisdom and warmth is sincere like no other and their light soothes the darker days. We may not like the nasty-booger-moments and they may not be our favorite place to hang out but they sure do make the world, and our circle of friends, a better place. In the end, I’ll take and embrace those nasty booger moments if they lessen the amount of shiny-shallow in this life and move us all to that place where light and grace abound because the light and grace is where the love and the peace breathe freely and where the softer side of life begins.