Monday, September 12, 2016

Good--but hard. Hard--but good.


Recently I talked to an acquaintance-becoming-a-friend after church. She is so beautiful and joyful. We talked about getting together sometime, which made me happy because one thing I enjoy most about church is connecting with other women. 

There is a certain "chemistry" involved with this process that I've learned not to overthink or worry excessively about. I no longer look specifically for women who are close to me in age or at the same life stage, or involved in the same activities or ministries I'm involved in; I've come to realize that the circumstantial details don't matter as much as that desire (sometimes unspoken, but hopefully eventually spoken!) to connect.

First we talked about a really profound subject: her glasses.

Then, having seen some of her photos on Facebook, I said, "I hope you had a good summer; it looks like you did some nice traveling."

She said, "My summer was good -- but it was hard." She added, with a smile, "I don't share everything on Facebook, you know." I told her that I'm not always sure what or how much to share, either. 

Then she said it again, but differently: "Well, it was hard -- but it was good."

It was good -- but it was hard.

It was hard -- but it was good. 

That sounds a lot like my life, too.

In the last while I've posted about a lot of milestone events in our family: graduations, birthdays, new school adventures. It's great to share these moments and have others join in celebrating them.

But there have been challenges, as well. Our trip out east was good in many ways (we saw my dad and brother and other relatives; Jonathan attended a day camp that kept him busy for much of the time), but it was difficult, too. Jonathan didn't take well to some of the transitions from place to place and had many meltdowns and screaming sessions as a result. Even when he wasn't around I found it hard to relax: it's like my body was tensed up in fight-or-flight mode, anticipating an outburst. There were lots of people I *could* (and maybe *should*) have gotten in touch with, but it was hard to summon up much energy to organize and plan.

So I feel a bit envious when I see other people's photos of relaxing times sitting around campfires, walking on beaches, taking trips that do not (appear to) involve screaming and stress. 

But then I remind myself that there's probably a lot of "good but hard, hard but good" stuff in everybody's lives, stuff that doesn't always show in the pictures they post.

On any given day, either the hard or the good can predominate. Sometimes I fall into bed amazed that I've survived the day. Other times I'm overwhelmed by the sense of being blessed, cared-for, and carried by God and supported by other people -- like friends at church, wonderful family members, awesome neighbours, dedicated school staff, and so many more.

Life is good but hard, hard but good. Maybe it's best to admit and accept that that's true -- for me and for everybody else I meet today.


photo www.pexels.com

20 comments:

  1. A lovely piece Jeannie, and a wonderful perspective on life. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome - thinking of you today, too.

      Delete
    2. The older I get and the more people I get to know I realize too that most of us have hard but good, good but hard lives. Everyone has a story (whether they have shared it or not) and as we know, most stories have troubles and trials. I appreciate it when people share their difficulties as well as their joys.

      Delete
    3. I know what you mean, Sue-Anne. Otherwise it's just not real life. Also, it encourages us to hear other people's stories and see how they've faced life's challenges.

      Delete
  2. Ah, yes, I understand. Such is life with autism. Reminds me of the other day when we took our young man shopping for clothes and shoes. We managed to find almost exactly the same pair of shoes as the old pair (he has worn nothing else for the past two years, not even wellie boots in the mud and rain). The shoe shopping was wonderfully easy, and the sales girl was so sweet. Then we went into the clothes shop. That did not go so well. Two hours later and we gave up. Prince was certain he did not feel comfortable in any of the clothes except one solitary shirt. Sadly, in the words of Shakespeare, "A shirt doth not a wardrobe make" o_O

    I have resorted to trying to find exact replicas of his current shirts and trousers on eBay! Successful so far, but it does make me wonder if he'll be 47 years old one day and still wearing children's clothes from the M&S of 30 years before. You have to have a good sense of humour, don't you? There are so many times I remind myself that it's a choice of 'laugh or cry'!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very, very true, Sandy. You "get it." Today I was laughing with my daughter about some of Jonathan's expressions: when I'm getting his breakfast, he insists on having the juice spout closed IMMEDIATELY and the top of the syrup container closed IMMEDIATELY, and his way of putting it is "White juice door away." "Blue syrup door away." So funny! Yes, laugh or cry. Occasionally both.

      Delete
  3. To even be able to see that it is good when it's hard is a blessing, Jeannie. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Tim. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

      Delete
  4. Amazing. Thanks for sharing!
    Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” (NASB)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - this verse reminds me of yesterday's sermon, and how God is our anchor: not like a lily-pad, that can easily float away, but like a five-ton rock, stable and secure.

      Delete
  5. Thanks so much for sharing this Jeannie. I think one of the lessons I continue to learn is that what is visible to others on the outside, isn't always what's happening on the inside. For me and for others. Thanks for reminding me that there's always more to someone than their "cover page" and I always need to strive to look beyond . . . and to pray beyond the visible!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sharon; I appreciate your comment. I like the way you put that, too: "always more to someone than their cover page."

      Delete
  6. Really great post Jeannie!! You are SO right about seeing other people's posts and thinking it looks so peaceful, yet we don't truly know, do we. I have a tendency to share more good than hard as I do not want to be negative and I truly want to thank God and praise Him for the good, yet it is not always honest is it? Thanks for your honesty, it is appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Melinda. Yes, it's a constant dilemma, isn't it? We want to be authentic, but not give "Too Much Information"; we want to share our joys, yet not airbrush our lives.

      Delete
  7. Boy, did I need these words today. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad they spoke to you, Michelle. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  8. Thanks for writing this, Jeannie. It's so true that our lives usually have both good and hard, and it's often difficult to know how much and what details of the hard stuff to discuss on social media. I don't want to be dishonest, and yet I want to protect my own and other people's privacy - so, how to be authentic without TMI? I think you have a really good balance here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tuija - I really appreciate that.

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mieke

      Delete

Please leave a comment. I love to hear from readers, and I always reply!