When we were thrust into the pandemic back in March, I downloaded this wallpaper for my phone from The Hollis Company:
Eight months later, that image is still the first thing I see on my phone. I still appreciate that reminder every single day. Even though I’m now able to work, leave my house, enjoy some amount of normalcy, life still seems to be in the throes of upheaval.
I have a gift for looking at the positive side of things. I can spin any situation into a positive, finding the good and the lesson, and I’ll make sure you see it, too. Those who know me best, however, know I can also spiral out into the depths of what-ifs, absolutely certain that everything is going to crumble around me at any minute. (If you know that side of me, you know it’s pretty ugly. Thanks for loving me through it.) Every morning, I write down ten things I’m grateful for, and at every class I ask my dancers to tell me something great about their day. I am convinced there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. But I’m also not so blind as to think it can’t be harder to find some days than others.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the world around us is crappy, and it is 100% okay to acknowledge that, grieve that, be mad about that. But the challenge comes for us to look at that situation, turn it on its head (or do a headstand if you must) and look at it in a new way.
There’s a story I haven’t told too many people. It’s a hard story, one that is bittersweet, and one that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around. But I think it’s appropriate for right now. So, here goes. After I graduated college, Hubs and I bought a house about 15 minutes from our hometown. There wasn’t anything special about this house - it was available, the price was right, and we needed a place to live. It was never meant to be our forever home. I thought we’d be there two years, tops. I was just starting the dance studio, we didn’t have plans to have kids for a while, and we wanted to live in Edgewood - where we went to church, where the studio was based, where Hubs worked - it just made sense.
Well, fast forward eight years - we had a seven-year-old and our cat, Luther, and we were still in that little house. Oh, it wasn’t for lack of trying. I had been busy dreaming - we talked about building, buying, creating a HUGE space to make a combined house and studio, kicking my parents out of their house (just kidding, mom). We’d talked to a realtor and nothing was coming available. Nothing was ever quite right. And I knew everything would be just right when we found the right house. I was so miserable.
Then in 2015 came the worst news - I lost my grandmother. Do you remember in my original post when I told you about how big of an encourager my mom was to me in following my dreams? Well, my Grandma Bushaw rivaled my mother in terms of unconditional support.
She would quote Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength. - and remind me that absolutely nothing is impossible with Christ. She came to every dance recital and taught me to love and appreciate music. But the day came that she was gone, and it was as though someone sucked all of the air out of the atmosphere.
A few years earlier, I had a conversation with Grandma about her house. I loved her house, and I asked her what she would think about me buying it when she no longer needed it - although we both prayed that wouldn’t be for a few more decades. She thought that would be just fine, but she wasn’t so sure that my decorating style would work there. Of course, the years passed, grandma stayed healthy, and in those coming years, we grew even closer.
Just a few weeks before Grandma passed away, we talked to our realtor about a house that might be coming available. It would have been just right; exactly what we were looking for. And just as quickly as we got our hearts set on it, it was sold to someone else. And, that was it. I had resigned myself to a life that was less-than my dreams. The perfect house didn’t exist, so we may as well stay where we were.
And then Grandma passed.
((You guys, typing that last line just now buckled me. It still knocks the wind right out of me.))
The details of the next few days are so hazy, but there were several teary conversations around Grandma’s kitchen table. It was decided that Andy and I would buy the house. If you’ve ever been a part of settling an estate, you know there was a whole process to follow in the following weeks and months. But when it was all said and done, we moved into my grandmother’s house. And I can’t explain the joy that filled my heart with being in this beautiful home. But, especially for that first year, every moment of rejoicing had a backhanded sadness to it. I didn’t know it was possible to hold such happiness and such grief at the same time.
All of our lives are different. My experiences shape my perspective. Your experiences do the same for you. You may have had more traumatic experiences than you care to share, and you struggle to find any good rising from them. I don’t want to reduce your feelings; that’s not the intention of this story. I just want to pose the thought that perhaps, when we look beyond the immediate response and result, just perhaps there is some good there to be found.
Let’s circle back to the example of the pandemic, and this second (third? fourth?) wave we’re currently facing. I’ve gotten back to smaller class sizes. I get to be home with my daughter more. I’m shopping for more essentials locally. I’ve found some amazing subscription boxes for things I can’t find in my town. I’ve saved thousands of miles on my car. I’ve saved SO MUCH money on gas (I really should have kept better track of that…the savings have to be substantial).
Friends, things are not always going to be awesome. We live in a broken world full of hard things. Sometimes we are going to have to sit with those hard things. But then, we get to choose to stand up and move forward. We get to find the good in every day. It may be something as brief as the fact that you actually got to open your eyes this morning. And if that’s all the joy you can find today, let that be enough. And never stop looking for those good things. Soon, it will be everywhere you look.
Stay safe. Sending you love.
My name is Miranda and I'm a mom, spouse, dance teacher, and entrepreneur. I’m going to share my life with you. The good, the bad, the weird. I hope to inspire you, encourage you, make you laugh. I’ll be honest. And I can’t wait to learn more about you through it all.