I’m a hopeful person. I’m optimistic. Not in the way that you would think, such as “I’m hopeful that Husband #2 and I work things out and come together in a better, more mature, loving relationship.” That’s not the type of hope and optimism I carry.
What I have is the hope and optimism that my best days are ahead of me. I am a function of my struggles and the very act of struggling brings me optimism. You see, I’ve had some really crappy days in the past, days that knocked me on my butt and tried to stomp the optimism right out of me. And yet my track record for surviving those days is 100%. I’ve made it through every single dark time.
I’m still here.
For me, hope is a process. It’s a goal, a series of disappointments and adjustments, and a strong belief in my ability to rise above the muddiness of life.
- I know where I want to go.
- I know how to get there. I’m persistent and I can tolerate disappointment and try again. I just need to stay flexible and find different routes, if the first path doesn’t work out.
- I can do this.
I see greatness in my great mess.
That’s where the optimism comes in. I’ve been around so many construction sites, home remodels, renovations, and everyday projects to know that building something new is messy work. Projects will always look worse before they look better. That’s why home improvement shows have a “reveal” – where the homeowners are hustled out right in the midst of the worst of the construction only to be brought back again when the walls have been sealed up, the foundation strengthened, and the home scrubbed clean. The owners express amazement at what they see now. Previously they were too busy being overwhelmed by the small details to keep the big picture in mind. Yet somehow all the details come together.
I’m tending to the small details while keeping my big picture in mind. I like being married and I feel certain that there is someone out there who will like being married to me.
My great mess has me learning about toxic relationship habits and healthy relationship habits. I’ll own my mistakes. I’ll change my course, adjust my route, learn, make mistakes, and learn again. Through it all, I’ll keep in mind that I am an imperfect person who has the capacity for improvement and the potential and drive to make myself into who I want to be. I’m not static. I am dynamic!
It’s said that gardening is a journey, not a destination. I am my own garden. I am my own landscaper. I can move mountains, build stone retaining walls (or tear them down!), nourish tender flowers, and revitalize old asparagus beds in the garden of my spirit. The weeds of hurt, fear, and frustration will always be there, but with regular care, my emotional lawn will grow thick and healthy enough to keep my weeds to a minimum.
With all of that, I can practice my deepest values: basic humanity, interest in the well-being of others, love, spiritual connection, appreciation of nature, creative beauty, compassion, and family connection. Are these values easy? No. They are scary and hard and require great personal risk. Putting myself “out there” means exposing myself to a far greater risk of being hurt, it would be easier to live in isolation, but true connection requires the courage necessary to show up and be a participant in my own life.
I think I’ll take the risk and live a little in my great mess! My best days are ahead of me…