Going on vacation is like a reset button for me. This summer has been strange up to this point: disjointed, off-kilter and emotional. I have felt like a fish out of water with no logical reason for this out-of-step sensation.
Then I went away. I had high hopes of learning something profound or life-altering, as has occurred in the past, but instead it was just more of the same. Scratchy on the inside, easily irritated, a rising wind of discontent pushing my peace out of reach.
We all have crappy seasons that we just have to walk through, whether we want to or not. I find them easier to bear when I can pinpoint the cause of my malaise (“Oh, that’s why!”), but this time around no source for my frustration made itself evident.
When the time approached to head home, I felt disappointed that no great revelation had descended. Like most people, I wanted to feel happy and relaxed; to embrace the summer heat with its long days and pleasant evenings. I yearned to flip a switch and feel like myself again, but nothing was working.
Then we came home. Suddenly, a heaviness lifted and I knew a shift had taken place. I still couldn’t identify a reason for this change, but somehow it ceased to matter. Our inner landscape is a tumultuous place. We can’t hold onto the good and avoid the bad. We must accept what comes, learning from what is unsettling as much as from the things that bring us joy.
I long to be patient with my own humanity. I want to extend mercy for my flailing vulnerabilities instead of hurrying my soul through its inevitable rough patches. And yet I fail miserably at this. I want to assign a scientific meaning to everything I feel, like pencil points on graph paper, instead of accepting that feeling blue is part of the human condition.
We can’t be skilled at everything. There is always more to learn and to achieve. Perhaps, for today, it is enough to simply rest in my own soul, without forcing any one specific outcome. I know from experience that a painful season leads to a fertile, peaceful one. Hurrying growth along breeds nothing but resentment. Patience is a better plan. Too bad it’s so damn hard.
We are all doing better than we think we are. I tend to make it harder than it has to be. Sometimes, we just have to wait it out, finding the good and the beautiful in the midst of the difficult. Answers come to us later, when we stop fighting the power of the current and find ourselves back out on the sand. Labour is agonizing for a reason. At the end of it, you get new life.