Where do I start?
It seems confusion, failure, new beginnings and change are the major themes of my twenties thus far.
Once again, I am faced with a new beginning and a lesson learned.
Its amazing how much one person (myself) can seemingly stumble their way through life.
When I was young I thought I would have it figured out when I got 'older'. Then when I was in high school I thought I would finally have it all figured out in college. Then when I was in college I thought that as soon as I reached the working world, things would magically fall into place. And then when I was young and naive to the world as an independent adult, I thought when I was in my mid-twenties, I would most definitely have it together. And now - after all of my life experiences including living overseas and trying a myriad of jobs - I still don’t have it figured out. And regardless of how ridiculous it may be, I secretly dream about having life figured out by my late twenties or early thirties.
But will I? Will I really? I seriously doubt it.
So maybe this is what life is about, right?
Stumbling from failure to failure. Serendipitously finding your way into new opportunities and discovering new passions. Trying something new only for it to only halfway work - you like that part, but not that one - time to readjust the sails AGAIN.
I mean seriously, what. is. it. about. life.?
Why can’t I just have it all figured out?!
Why? (as I often scream at God in frustration)
…But what if…
What if this IS what life is about?
What if the messes and stumbles and seemingly random encounters with new people and opportunities are what it IS all about? What if THIS MESS is it?
Well, hmmm, that certainly changes things a bit.
While I was away this past week (on a family vacation, no less) I stumbled across a famous quote of Winston Churchill,
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
So if I stay enthusiastic in the midst of the mess, does that make me successful?
Really?! Life for real, for real?
I would like to think so.
Because no matter how messy a situation can be - everything is a lesson. And if not a positive lesson - it can be one that shows you what doesn't work.
And if you ask me, that is just as valuable if not more valuable than a positive lesson.
Think about an inventor.
Any inventor will fail hundreds, if not thousands or millions of times before finding something that works. Thomas Edison once said,
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Why should our lives be any different?
We are each beautiful pieces of artwork in progress. We are all on a journey called life. God is working in each one of us to create something beautiful and to fulfill a purpose. But in that journey comes mistakes, stumbles, growing pains, joys, beauty, love and hurt. The journey includes it all. So we should expect that while we are being worked on the potters wheel like clay, that there will come times where things collapse, where we have to start over and rebuild. But each new beginning adds its own marking, making us all beautiful in our own unique ways.
So maybe, rather than focusing on 'getting it all together' and having life 'figured out', we should have patience with ourselves and the bumps in the road and instead focus on the beautiful journey called life.
Because when we each reach our individual ends of the path, it won't be a matter of whether we had it 'all figured out'. Rather, what will really matter is whether we lived life fully through the ups and the downs.
And I choose to live.