One beautiful life.
It sounds romantic doesn’t it? Find the beauty in everything from rainy days to vomit.
It’s been four months since I contributed to this space. It feels awkward, uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I lost myself and my voice in the midst of confusion, busyness and the restless fog that has overshadowed the last six months.
I usually revel in the hours that quickly pass between Christmas and New Year’s. I clean, I purge and I take note, mentally and on paper, of where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and new resolutions for a fresh chapter, a clean slate, a blank canvas.
But this year is different. For the first time in 12 years, I have a full-time job and the idea of adding anything seems next to impossible. Survival is the only objective…or is it?
The fog still lingers – vague, I know, but the truth is, sometimes, from one year to the next we have to bring baggage with us because we haven’t dealt with what’s inside or we are holding too tightly to a piece of luggage that has been with us so long it has become like an extra appendage or a security blanket. It’s part of who we are and we can’t let go.
I wasn’t a big fan of Frozen. This is an understatement – I hated it. I thought the premise was completely ridiculous: run away from your problems and shut the world out and then, once you’ve hurt everyone around you, come back and it will all be okay. You let it go and so will they?
“No right, no wrong, no rules for me
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past”
Yes, this is the song that little girls would sing on repeat…
Luckily, Disney realised that this probably was not the right message to indoctrinate children with and sought to make amends with Frozen II. I realise that there are mixed reviews about this much anticipated sequel and quite frankly Olaf holds the whole thing up BUT…as I walked the fields today, getting ready to turn the page on 2019 and envisioning 2020, one scene stuck with me.
[SPOILER ALERT] It’s when Olaf is turning into a flurry – he’s dying. Ana cradles Olaf in her arms until the last of him has blown away with the wind. She has sat comforting her dying friend all night long and when morning comes, she is leaning against a cold, uncomfortable rock. She lacks the physical, emotional and mental strength to go on and save her sister. She can do no more than lean into the pain.
Eventually, Ana allows herself to see past her current context and recall something that is said earlier in the movie, “when you can’t see the future, just do the next right thing.”
I think that too often, especially at this time of year, we can be weighed down with happy-clappy messages of unrealistic optimism. It was pointed out in a book I’ve been listening to that resolutions always focus on what we are not. They are corrections to our sources of shame. We feel that we are not pretty enough, not healthy enough and not rich enough so we eat better, exercise more and spend less.
They make us focus on areas where we are not enough…but the truth is, in this moment, you are enough.
And maybe right now, like me, you need to lean into the discomfort instead of trying to pretend that you are anything other than who you are. We need to stop pretending that the cold hard rock is as soft as a down-filled pillow because it’s not. These hard times are shaping you, giving you depth and one day, when you are ready, you will stand up, put one foot in front of the other, and do the next right thing.
So for 2020, lean in with me.
Lean into the discomfort.
Lean into who you are – all of your strengths, joys, victories, shortcomings and shame.
Lean into the present. It’s where you are today. What is today teaching you? What is God teaching you? What is one truth or victory you can carry into tomorrow?
I’m ready for you 2020.