Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life is beautiful...

So much has been going on lately that I've had little opportunity to write. Time has just been flying by.

Some things have been difficult, like members of our extended family facing serious situations and illness, or just the inevitable but painful effects of aging.

Some things have been exciting, like other members of our family preparing for great life changes.

And, some things have brought just the purest and simplest joy—like the birth of our first grandchild—that I am rendered speechless. The feeling is indescribable.

Oftentimes in my life I've found that some of the saddest and happiest moments co-exist in the same period of time. In some ways, it feels confusing to experience such deep emotions on opposite ends of the spectrum, simultaneously. 

Then, sometimes I think that paradox is really the essence of life itself. 

Nothing is sure. There are no guarantees. Life is full of risk, but it exists alongside hope. Still, my personality struggles to hold onto hope. As much as I hate to admit it, the painfully-shy-girl-with-blue-glasses that I've written of on the blog—the girl who was afraid of everything—is still who I battle every day.

Yet in those moments of life's indescribable joy, that girl and all her fears disappear. In those moments, all that remains is good and pure and wonderful. 

Several years ago in the midst of the darkest valley I had experienced, I asked someone I admired (a woman who had endured more of life's hardships than should befall one individual) how she had survived and managed to remain positive. 

She answered simply that she quit expecting so much from life

At first I was taken aback. But the more she explained, the more I understood. She didn't mean that a person shouldn't dream big or have high aspirations, but rather that oftentimes we get so derailed by the bad stuff that we fail to appreciate the little moments of joy happening all around us...the now.

Her words stayed with me through that dark valley, and even when things felt utterly devoid of hope, she was right. Moments of joy were there for the taking. Grabbing hold of those moments is a lesson I'm still learning today. 

They are inconspicuous moments of grace, with the power to sustain us through moments of heartache.

None of us knows what tomorrow holds. It could be pain. But, it could also be the purest and simplest joy, the kind that renders you utterly speechless.

And that possibility—that chance at a moment of grace—that is what makes life so beautiful.

-The Grocer's Wife