A couple of years ago, I called a dear friend of mine late at night. My grandmother had recently died, and while I knew I was grieving the recent loss, I had not anticipated all the other doors of grief and loss that would fling open in my face that night. I was feeling too much, and not finding a peaceful way to navigate the experience on my own.
My friend listened and said little. When she did speak, she acknowledged and validated the whole tribe of emotions that were stomping all over my heart. Then she offered a bit of perspective.
“Mark your calendar, Sarah, for one year from this day. You will be
in a whole different space than you are right now. Wait and see. I promise life will look nothing like it does to you right now.” Her words soothed my soul that evening and reminded me that nothing is forever, including our perspective and experience. She was correct, too. A year later I was in an entirely different space and was able to reflect on how much I had grown from that moment.
On the Sunday this blog is posted, I will be participating in my fourth sprint triathlon. I remember the fear I felt five years ago when I signed up for my first triathlon without knowing how to swim and breathe at the same time. I trained and trained for that first triathlon, determined to finish with joy. The following year, I swam through my fear of being in the ocean and finished a second triathlon in a different location. Last year, I returned to the location of the first triathlon and participated with a team. The purpose of our team was to support courageous women completing their first triathlons.
This year, I am returning again to the same course I completed the first year, and I am completing the triathlon on my own. I am still determined to finish with joy. This year, despite the fact that I have not trained with as much intensity or intentionality as in previous years, I have a sense of peace and confidence within me that I could not even fathom in the days and months leading up to that first triathlon.
Nothing stays the same. Over time, even when faced with the same set of circumstances, our perspective changes. Our ability to rise up and greet the experience that is before us changes. The only constant thing in life is change. We change, we grow, and through our transformation, nothing is exactly the same.