Recently I talked to an acquaintance-becoming-a-friend after church. She is so beautiful and joyful. We talked about getting together sometime, which made me happy because one thing I enjoy most about church is connecting with other women.
There is a certain "chemistry" involved with this process that I've learned not to overthink or worry excessively about. I no longer look specifically for women who are close to me in age or at the same life stage, or involved in the same activities or ministries I'm involved in; I've come to realize that the circumstantial details don't matter as much as that desire (sometimes unspoken, but hopefully eventually spoken!) to connect.
First we talked about a really profound subject: her glasses.
Then, having seen some of her photos on Facebook, I said, "I hope you had a good summer; it looks like you did some nice traveling."
She said, "My summer was good -- but it was hard." She added, with a smile, "I don't share everything on Facebook, you know." I told her that I'm not always sure what or how much to share, either.
Then she said it again, but differently: "Well, it was hard -- but it was good."
It was good -- but it was hard.
It was hard -- but it was good.
That sounds a lot like my life, too.
In the last while I've posted about a lot of milestone events in our family: graduations, birthdays, new school adventures. It's great to share these moments and have others join in celebrating them.
But there have been challenges, as well. Our trip out east was good in many ways (we saw my dad and brother and other relatives; Jonathan attended a day camp that kept him busy for much of the time), but it was difficult, too. Jonathan didn't take well to some of the transitions from place to place and had many meltdowns and screaming sessions as a result. Even when he wasn't around I found it hard to relax: it's like my body was tensed up in fight-or-flight mode, anticipating an outburst. There were lots of people I *could* (and maybe *should*) have gotten in touch with, but it was hard to summon up much energy to organize and plan.
So I feel a bit envious when I see other people's photos of relaxing times sitting around campfires, walking on beaches, taking trips that do not (appear to) involve screaming and stress.
But then I remind myself that there's probably a lot of "good but hard, hard but good" stuff in everybody's lives, stuff that doesn't always show in the pictures they post.
On any given day, either the hard or the good can predominate. Sometimes I fall into bed amazed that I've survived the day. Other times I'm overwhelmed by the sense of being blessed, cared-for, and carried by God and supported by other people -- like friends at church, wonderful family members, awesome neighbours, dedicated school staff, and so many more.
Life is good but hard, hard but good. Maybe it's best to admit and accept that that's true -- for me and for everybody else I meet today.