Things are going good…Oh no!
It’s no surprise that (like everyone) my life has its ups and downs. For example, I spent the last two years draining money into my smile. I have a missing front tooth and had an implant done about 7 years ago–one that I was told would last me 20 years. Two years ago I found out that I had to have it removed because it was infected. I was devastated and in denial, but I had it removed and had a bone graft done at the same time. Before I could get my new implant, I had to wear a “flipper” tooth for a year, while the bone healed. This June, I finally got to get my new permanent crown! Holy excitement! While at the dentist, I had them look at a different tooth that had been bothering me and I found out that I needed a filling. This news was discouraging, but I rolled with it. I celebrated my new tooth and reluctantly scheduled my filling.
A few weeks later, during my appointment, I had a bad reaction to the epinephrine in the anesthesia. My heart began racing and my body started shaking–and not in a good way. Needless to say, I had to reschedule. The morning of my next appointment, I woke up in pain and was unable to move my head due to a pulled muscle in my neck. I considered canceling, but decided to go through with the filling. It was an awful experience. The girls at the dental office took pity on me because of my less than smooth oral experiences. Embarrassed, I assured them that overall my life is awesome even though my dental health has not been ideal. I’m such a minimizer.
After leaving the office, in my post-filling daze, I started thinking that maybe my life wasn’t that awesome. Maybe my luck was mostly bad. After all, I had been struggling with infertility, finding a job, and getting into grad school. I drove home, took some ibuprofen and crashed on the couch. This negative cycle lasted a few days.
Then I started feeling better. As the physical pain wore off, my mental health improved too. I remembered that I am married to a great man, and we own a house, and a car. I remembered that we both have jobs, in schools, and have next summer off together. I remembered all of the people that I love and that love me in return. I remembered that I’ve been able to travel the world and to go to college. I remembered that I am free and that I have hope. I found comfort in my new mindset, but not for long. I started to feel that my life was going too well! Why am I so blessed? Life is going SO smooth. Something bad is bound to happen soon, right? Surely my current bliss cannot last.
I think it’s human to dwell on the idea that life is tough–filled with plenty of days that challenge, torture, and generally beat us down. Life has been difficult in our past which causes us to live in fear and anxiety of the future, instead of in the moment. We hold on to the darkness even in the brightness of the sun.
I recently stumbled across this little zen story that really resonated with me. Please take a second to read it…It’s short.
One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice.
As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine.
Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!
Regardless if you are in a time of darkness or a time of bliss, it will soon pass. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 reminds us that there is a “season for every activity under heaven,” aka, a change is a comin’ whether we anticipate it/think about it/dread it or not. Some of the lows are really intense, and the highs can be like fireworks or a slow burning candle. Don’t constantly hope for better or expect the worst, but know that no matter the season, we are never alone.
No one knows what’s around the corner so let’s just BE wherever we are right now–it’s perfect here.