“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”
The last 10 days have seen some hard curve balls in our family of 2. The details don’t matter for this reflection, but the outcomes and realisations do
Things we were hoping we weren’t going to have to deal with and yet we did. More than did- we came out knowing that we are okay and there is hope, and in fact in the midst of the heartache and sadness there was joy.
Not because we were in denial but because we had ‘mirrors’ reminding us of who we are and what we are about and what our hearts have always known about what we believe our family to be about.
Regardless of what the situation was, I have realised that in any other hard time my default thinking was always: ‘Some people get the easier end, I am not one of them’ or ‘my story involves zig-zag hair pin, up and down paths rather than a controlled, steady climb to the top’. In fact last year when we fell pregnant, my exact words to a few close friends were – this happened too quickly, it can’t be that easy & sadly it was a blighted ovum – but that had nothing to do with my thinking – other than at the time really challenging me to change it but wondering why I should!
I had been wrestling with my perspective on life and what it said about my belief in God (which I didn’t really like at all) before we even knew we were pregnant so it wasn’t linked to the pregnancy itself. And (bad grammar I know, but the emphasis is needed) AND this is important – because my thinking had nothing to do with things that happen ultimately BUT everything to do with how I respond to things. Some things like a blighted ovum just are, but end up feeling like a (can you say rationalising excuse?) self-fulfilling prophecy and in other contexts mean that I don’t live in the moment but mistrust the joy in front of me.
See in this past week I have witnessed someone share their amazing testimony of how their thinking changed (read and follow her journey here: https://adoptaconvict.wordpress.com ) & had a conversation with someone whose life is in a transition and choices need to be made space, but it’s hard to know that there is permission and blessing to do so, and it hit me again.
We all need mirrors.
We need mirrors to remind us of who we are and who were aren’t.
We need mirrors to tell us truth, to encourage and to reflect back to us when we can’t see clearly.
We need mirrors to give us courage.
My mirror this last week diffused what previously would have felt like ‘here we go again – it’s that hard path’ and turned it into WHAT, WHO ARE YOU? REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE?
I realised 5 days after my mirror in our current context (a friend who knows who she is) did this, that there was no time to focus on the hard path, to get stuck in the default thinking simply as once she reminded me of the bigger picture…the rest no longer mattered as much.
It was an incredibly liberating and joyful celebration in the midst of what could have and previously only would have been an angry and tired place.
More than what and who I discovered myself to be in this, again, I celebrate that in the last 6 months, my thinking has changed, that to quote henri nouwen ‘I have lived into a new way of thinking’.
I know that life isn’t fair.
I know God is there regardless.
I know that ‘bad things happen to good people’ and that good things happen to ‘bad people’. That we don’t always get what we or others think we deserve – sometimes it’s much more, sometimes it’s much less. *see below*
I know that when my sense of shame, sorrow, anger, sadness or ‘it’s not fair’ kicks in that sometimes I don’t see clearly in the mirror.
I know that it’s thanks to the faithfulness of community, of people walking down the valleys and up the mountains and onto the peaks with me to celebrate that things have shifted into a new way of living.
I am grateful for friends and family being willing to be my mirror. Mirrors who can reflect the broken bit but also the whole bits – which allows for freedom & confesssion & healing.
I am grateful for God holding up the ultimate mirror of the paradoxes of life and knowing that in this uncertainty about much, that there is certainty.
I know this because I have witnessed it time and again over the last few months and really across the last 41 years &1 day of my life.
To sit in a car en route to work and want to do a happy dance of joy, knowing that the pathways in my heart and mind have changed is more than just about work I have done.
It’s about grace.
It’s about healing and joy.
It’s really been about mirrors: seeing and being seen.
We need mirrors.
*good and bad people used loosely in this context simply and by no means imply that people are not worth anything or that any of us are better or worse than others…