I am different now. Yesterday I felt discouraged because it seemed I was mired in the frustrations of this hard time I'm in, with thorny conflicts all around, and I've had to come to terms with how much work it takes to grow personally. Nothing good comes without sacrifice, and I believed that I would eventually see growth from this barren season of my life, but last night I saw that I have already changed.
This morning I woke up with a Frank Sinatra Christmas song running around in my mind (I've been stamping Christmas cards all month and listening to Christmas tunes - Jason and others think I'm nuts but I'm okay with that). The chorus says, "I can weather the storm, I've got your love to keep me warm." Those lyrics covered me with peace this morning as I reflected on how different I will be going forward, because of how much strain and stress I have encountered since the end of the summer.
In the middle of pain, we just want it to end. We don't want to analyze the benefits and advantages; we simply want to stop hurting and feel good again. I've had many good moments in the last two months, but overall its been like walking with a heavy backpack and ten pounds of sand in each shoe. Sometimes I begged for a break from forging my own way and standing up for myself when I felt pressure to conform and pretend something I didn't genuinely feel.
All of a sudden, I'm grateful for the series of events which conspired to bring me to this point, where I realize I've been weathering the storm, and I'm never going to be the same again. I am fully myself, owning my own identity, strengths and weaknesses, in a way I have never come close to before. There are no shortcuts for this kind of growth. I look at the type of conflicts I've been faced with, over and over from different groups of people, but all related to deepen my own confidence and identity.
Fighting for anything is exhausting. It taxes us, weakens us for a time, and then eventually shows what we are made of. If we believe in something, we must fight for it, for the good of our own soul. When the personal cost feels high, we know we are getting somewhere. I love this sense of hope and peace, for it means that the worst of this time might be behind me, and the seeds that were planted might be ready to grow and eventually bear fruit.