Some day, when I pause long enough in the daily process of doing the daily, always-busy, keep-the-hamster-wheel-turning life I have, I’m going to paint a sign on a piece of barn wood I’ve been saving and hang it above my bed.
“Blessed is the life that finds joy in the journey,” it will read.
The saying is hardly original with me, in fact if I were so inclined, I could order a kit and cross stitch a sampler, but I can be realistic. I’m past the point of my trifocals allowing me to find the tiny holes in the Aida cloth, and if for more years than any of us can calculate I haven’t painted the sign, it’s safe to say I won’t have the hours upon hours required to invest in completing a needlework sampler.
“It’s all good,” as my sons would say. The wisdom of words are intricately stitched within my heart and soul. I know them to be true, and I don’t need a sign to remind me. It’s just the daily affirmation will be nice to have. And the “doing” is a good thing, I always find.
To be honest, this last week I’ve had to remind myself my journey is a blessed one indeed. And that journeys worth taking are not meant to be carefree. There are hills and valleys, curves to slow down for and stretches that… that… What was it Winston Churchill said?
“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Well I’m not going to stitch that on a sampler either. Or paint it on a sign. But I won’t forget it. And I know.
I know, it’s ridiculous to compare the trials and tribulations of my week to even a mild version of hell. I know in the grand scheme of things these trials too shall pass. I have confidence in that. But I let myself be hurt. Wounded to the core.
Years from now, when I am gone, and she’s my age, I am pretty sure she will remember her angry and cruel words with regret, and wish she could take them back. Maybe she’ll be faced with being hit with similar vicious word slaps by someone she’s trying to save. I hope something of my spirit will whisper down to her, and assure her she was forgiven, even though what was said could not be forgotten as quickly. I hope her high road lets her understand those cruel things said in anger are not a true truth. That’s the truth I am seeking now. I know it’s there. I know I have to find it.
I hope from my deep hurt, she will be able to see that sometimes all the fury and resistance and fight she puts into what she thinks she doesn’t want, won’t change wrong to right; will never heal a wound; and can’t fix what is broken.
But within her, she has the power to fix those things; to follow the high road; accept goodness, mercy; be patient with all those things unsolved in her heart; and remember above all, those who love her hate for her to hurt now, but understand there is an element of pain in the process of growing, and changing, and becoming all of the person she was meant to be.
No one knows what answers will be revealed along the way of the journey. Accepting that is the trick. The journey is what we have. The destination, in all likelihood will look completely different from what we expected at the journey’s beginning, which is perfectly OK. Therein lies the beauty and blessing of making the choice to enjoy the journey.
Sixteen was tough when I was that age. I have not the tiniest doubt but that it’s a million times tougher in this day and age. What would I have changed of the 54 years of my then and now? I can’t think of a thing. The hardest and toughest parts of the path were the experiences that led to a better day, and there are a whole lot of “if it hadn’t been for that, then there wouldn’t have been this” written in my travel log.
What I wouldn’t give for her to see her beauty, know her talents; to teach her the attitude she hold onto hurts her more than she realizes. There is joy to be found on the roughest roads, toughest climbs; and finding that joy is to know blessings beyond her very best dreams and aspirations.
Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.