I remember being twenty-five, newly sober, and feeling like the scum of the earth. Everything felt impossibly hard and overwhelming. I remember being scared, so scared, that I had messed everything up beyond the possibility of repair. Everything was a hurdle.
I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten to where I was, why everything was as bad as it was, and at what point I had taken the wrong turn. I wanted to feel better. To stand on solid ground. I ached on the inside. I ached on the outside. Everything hurt and it hurt all the time. Darkness and dread saw me off to sleep at night, and they welcomed me as soon as I opened up my eyes in the morning.
I remember the debt I couldn’t see a way out of. I remember the consequences of the wreckage I had caused. I remember the limitations that I had created for myself. I remember wondering how I would ever enter into a career I could be proud of. I remember wondering if I would ever stop hurting. I remember the years where I wouldn’t go a day without crying.
Abundance was not a word in my vocabulary.
For a very long period in my life, I did every single thing out of necessity. To survive. To move past. To handle. To address. To defend. To answer to. To explain. To keep my head above water.
I clung to hope. I had a death grip on my incomprehensible and dumbfounding internal drive to make everything right. Looking back now, I see that I was herculean in my efforts and in my willingness. At the time I simply didn’t see any other option. I had committed to keep going, and if that was what keeping on going looked like, then we were doing it. I didn’t know if miracles would happen for me, but I prayed for them. I didn’t give up.
It was a lot of work, my salvation. We all have greatness within us, we simply have to tap into it. It’s important not to confuse simple with easy. None of it was easy.
I didn’t know then what I know now. I couldn’t understand at the time how young twenty-five is. I didn’t see that it was the exact perfect moment for starting over. There couldn’t have been a more perfect moment! I didn’t know that everything was going to be okay, that it was going to be even better than okay. I couldn’t see that by burning it all down I was being reborn. I didn’t appreciate the opportunity that was waiting for me.
It was such an incredible gift, everything that was happening, and yet I thought for sure the pain of it all would kill me.
What life looks like today is very different. Today, my life is soft yet powerful. Today, my life is abundant. Today, I have everything that I want and need, and then some. Today I stand on solid ground.
I feel joy. I feel gratitude. I feel meaning. I feel fulfillment. I feel the satisfaction of having something to grow towards. I feel loving. I feel the energy of the universe. I feel Spirit. I feel loved. I feel adventurous. I feel capable. I feel wholly awake. I feel I am a divine co-creator. I feel healed. I feel my own light. I feel steady. I feel sure. I feel in process. I feel in progress. I feel thrill from the contrast created by what is against what my heart still yearns for. I feel the excitement of what is yet to come.
I feel free.
At thirty-two my problems look very different than they did at twenty-five. They are still there, just different now. My problems have grown up alongside of me. They have shifted in the same way that I have. Not better, not worse, just different. Today I wonder how I can be the most useful to the world around me. Today I wonder when the best time to buy my first home will be. Today I wonder what my husband will be like when I meet him.
Today I wonder just what other magic God could possibly have in store for me and this surprising life of mine.
I have often wished to grow out of my problems. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way (insert face palm). Despite my terrible disappointment that I still must face problems, I have learned to appreciate them more. I’ve learned how to use them. Sometimes I have been willing to accept the new challenges. Sometimes I have not. Sometimes I have been open to receive their gift. Sometimes I want to throw a toddler-sized temper tantrum at the frustration of being human.
Our problems contribute to our soul growth and to fulfilling our divine assignment on this earth. They point us exactly in the direction that we are needed to be pointed. They direct our feet towards our future. Forward. Always forward.
Sometimes it seems like everything is ending because it is, in fact, ending. Because ending is what is needed. Because ending is what is best for our highest good. With this ending, a beautiful new beginning can be created.
I’ve walked through the fire many times in this life. I’ll always be willing to do it once more.
And so we grow.