That's a weird title 2 days before Christmas. This is the most exciting time of the year! The kids are bouncing off the walls, the presents are almost ready, the menus are planned, the parties are about to begin...this is not the time to think about struggles!
Well, I can't help it. I'm not depressed or anything, quite the contrary - I am caught up in the moment just like the kids are. But, as I sit here on this early morning, babysitting the cooking turkey while everyone else sleeps, I can't help but think about the journey of my life so far. I actually feel like I have lived 4 or 5 different lives...you know, the "growing up" life, the "young adult" life, the "newly married" life, the "young kids" life and now I'm in the "many kids of different ages, going back to school" life. ;)
I can't say that my life has looked like I expected it to when I was 18 and just spreading my wings. I expected it to be easier, more cut and dried. I expected a lot more choices to be black and white and a lot more events to be predictable. I expected to always be understood and appreciated.
But, I have realized something along the way. Every time I run into a situation that is not what I expected, I have a choice. I can freak out or I can just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can bemoan my idea of what should have been or I can embrace what is. I can be disappointed or I can be excited.
Because the truth is, no matter what comes my way today, I am alive and breathing. I am blessed immeasurably by the wonderful people in my life and I have, everyday, the chance to craft a legacy. Think about the people whose lives we love to remember. Do we say of them, "they had it easy. Everything they had or accomplished was handed to them. How inspiring!" No. We all love the stories of those who had to overcome so much to stand where they are. We love those stories because they give us hope, because we see ourselves in their shadows.
I wonder, is it always necessary to start with ashes before one sees beauty? Maybe not. But, I do know this, beauty that springs from ashes is magnificent indeed.
Merry Christmas, wonderful friends. I am glad I get to journey with you.