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I'm human, you're human, and life has ups and downs - A pep talk for the harder times.
Sometimes the most helpful mantra you can adopt is "keep treading water."
Life is beauty and life is pain. Wonderful opportunities, blessings, and gifts fill our existence. So do pain, disappointment and sudden sorrows.
I was taught that the hard and challenging experiences in our lives are there to make the lovely and happy experiences seem even sweeter. I’ve also heard people say that the our personal tragedies may exist only to give us empathy for other people’s suffering. I don’t pretend to know why we have such varied and opposite experiences as love and loss, celebration and sorrow, abundance and scarcity, it’s simply enough that all of these experiences are part of the quilt that makes us human.
Over the weekend a member of my community passed away suddenly, the second loss of this kind for our group this month (and we’re only 2 weeks in). But it’s not just our community that is grieving. The News feels heavy right now. Maui swallowed in flames. A home exploding in Pennsylvania. Planes dropping out of the sky. Here at home, we’re also on fire watch, as dry, windy conditions join forces with temperatures as high as 105 (a steep difference from our standard 88).
Like some of you, I can be a real push through kind of person. Perhaps you’ve heard me quote my aunt in a few episodes of The Changed Podcast, “you can either get busy living or you get busy dying.” It turns out that she was merely quoting Shawshank Redemption as I learned only recently, but “life is for the living” has certainly influenced my need to keep my eye on the prize even in the toughest of times. But today, something else is needed. Today what I need is grace, patience, and breath.
If you’re like me, and in need of some grace, I offer to both of us a simple message to bring us through this moment’s heaviness.
Just tread water today…
If you are feeling tossed and turned by the tides of the moment. If you are feeling like you’re swimming backwards. If you are feeling like you want to sink, are afraid you’ll drown but simply aren’t ready to make bold moves; I offer you this poem I wrote while feeling overwhelmed.
Right now you can just keep treading, ....and occasionally allow yourself to float. You are not a stone. You will not sink today. You may not be an athlete ready to compete on the next lap either. Right now, it is enough to keep treading. Trust that soon, very soon.... Maybe tomorrow. Maybe even today! You’ll be ready. You will swim!