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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

There Be Dragons

You know what's really hard about both getting what you want or not getting what you want?  The results are basically the same.  There is disappointment if you thought that’s what would make you happy. 

If you did get what you want, it makes you no happier than you were before getting it.  If you didn’t, you’re heartbroken.

Oh but then, dear friends, you get to go through the grueling process of figuring out what to do with that, now that you know this life truth.  The process happens slowly for some and quickly for others, and others still will never know this process even exists.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get disappointed and heartbroken enough in your life to begin the process of discovering real joy.  

First, you feel the quakes of heartbreak and the emotional vertigo of disappointment.  You begin to analyze the moments of the past that lead you here, and wonder how on earth you’re going to navigate your way back to solid ground because between where you are now and where you want to be, there be dragons.

Slowly, you realize that your ruby slippers took you to happiness time after time, but you were so busy thinking about how you don't yet have what you thought you wanted, that you didn't notice all of the beautiful, perfect, tiny moments of laughter and love.  

When your heart was broken, you didn’t acknowledge that the hole in your heart made room for the friendships that pour in.  Those moments when your dear friend was holding your hand, catching your tears, and calling you beautiful, something incredible and gentle was happening that couldn't happen if you instead chose to cry alone.  You let your friend see you, really see you, and she didn’t recoil, she didn’t run, she didn’t let that hole in your heart scare her away.  

At the time, you weren’t looking at the incredible beauty in those moments.  You were trudging down the path of a mediocre present so focused on an imagined future glory and fulfillment that you walked right past, without noticing, the generosity of the human heart, the bravery of friendship, the ways in which love can keep expanding infinitely.

But you can do that now.  You can recognize that joy happens in these terrible and terrifying moments.  You can see that, whilst going after goals is important, the happiness you think is at the end of the road is actually with you step after step, if you’re willing to open yourself up and look.  You can be both brave and gentle in friendship, knowing that the other is uncovering her many layers along with you.  You share your shame and she can hold it gently between her fingers like a dandelion and together you can let the seeds of shame float away in the breeze.  You can also witness the strength and resilience that you inspire as you in return help set her shame free.  

It's true, heartbreak and disappointment bring pain, but they also can bring incredible joy.  If you chose this path to solid ground you will traverse unfamiliar and dragon-ridden lands to experience this kind of joy, but that’s where the really good wine is anyway.

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