When the world is dark, be the light: American Experience Series Part II

Is life perfect? Do we believe the messages of hope and grandiose goals? Do we believe there is a destination, a proverbial American Dream? To be honest, I did and now I don’t. That sounds depressing, right?

Perhaps it is or perhaps it reflects a maturation, a change in outlook, a reframe of country and personal expectations.

The world is not made up solely of sunshine and roses. Even in my beloved Florida, I wake up to 30 degree dark dreary days sometimes. Likewise, no matter how happy you are yourself or how perfect your life seems, there is no ability to avoid all struggles, bumps in the world, detours – heck, even u-turns at times!

Growth does not occur during moments of brilliance but instead during moments of darkness.

Is this true or just what we tell ourselves in order to endure and maintain hope? In truth, it’s the latter. We can learn plenty during good times in our lives. But it feels good to say there’s a silver lining to our pain and suffering because it brings meaning to the experience. There’s no evidence to support this notion, and more to the point, there is much evidence to the contrary. So if that’s the case, why do we have to live through dark periods? What is the benefit to us?

I often say: I don’t believe there is a reason for everything but I am willing to learn from every experience.

If we can’t stop lemons from growing, then at least we can make lemonade out of the ripe ones, right? The question to ask oneself is: What can I learn from this experience and where can I go from here? When I buried my daughter, it was, without question, the hardest day of my life. In that moment though, I had two choices, grieve forever and martyr myself as a mother that lost or honor her memory with happiness and light. I chose the latter. It’s not that I never cry and miss her but 99% of my time spent thinking about her or doing things in her honor are done with a smile and a joy that few would realize in this situation. I *choose* to believe that when I smile, it doesn’t mean I’m not sad she’s gone, instead it means, I’m glad I knew her and I’m happy to remember her.

We have choices in our life experiences….we can be overcome by worrying about the bumps in the road that not might, but will, occur, and work ourselves to the extreme to try and control everything in an effort to avoid certain disaster. But spending one’s life trying to reach the peak of a pre-defined mountain instead of letting the train meander its way around it, guarantees you will miss the most beautiful parts of life, rather than ensure you reach the dream.

Live, experience, let your life reveal itself and you will likely find a path much greater than you could ever imagine on your own.

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