A Sparkling, Silver-White Lining

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I will spare you the details for now, Dear Readers, but this past week was not a good one. So as not to worry any of you, I will say that—apart from being emotional—I am okay. There’s nothing to worry about. This past week simply rerouted me on yet another detour, reshaping what I thought would be the trajectory of my life.

Again, I repeat: I am okay.

I do, however, need to write a little bit about this particular detour or, rather, the lesson that I have learned from it. After all, it has given birth to a perfect storm of emotion—of relief, of anger, of grief, of sadness. This week I needed someone to pull me out of my own mind, to look me in the eyes, and remind me that now is precisely the time to search for silver linings in otherwise dark clouds.

I will be honest; my first thought when I heard that particular sentiment—of finding good amidst the bad—was a big “f*&k you”.

Yes, I know. My response (although unsaid) was neither kind nor gracious. I also share it with you knowing that that brave and wonderful soul that triggered that response is probably reading this, probably slightly amused because I rarely swear, and probably more than a little relieved that I finally agree.

Because, Dear Readers, I do wholeheartedly agree. The cold rain of tears, the haze of anger—as necessary as those emotions are at times, it’s hard to see anything through them. Yet, in the moments of calm between shifting weather patterns, a faint glow can be found on the horizon line. Hope can be found.

As I write this, I am reminded of this year’s first snowfall.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to bed in one world—a world of worn out lawns and shriveled leaves—and awoke in another. This new world glistened with ice and snow. Children’s giddy laughter and the rushed search for hats and mittens ushered in a new day, a new season.

We didn’t receive much snow—an inch at the most—but, as I drove home from work that afternoon, I saw that it had been just enough for the students at a nearby elementary school to build miniature snowmen. The children had, despite having so little material to work with, fitted the playground with at least three of these happy, little creatures.

The children’s ingenuity was heartwarming then, and it is heartwarming now, even though that first snowfall and their creations have melted away. Why? Because the children didn’t look at the meager snowfall and think despairingly, “Oh, this isn’t enough” or, “Oh, this isn’t what I hoped for”. The children looked at the snow and thought, “let’s try”. And, then, they set to work creating something beautiful.

In this life, we do not always get what we want or what we dream of. We like to fool ourselves into thinking that there is a set route with specific milestones along the way—school, career, marriage, home, children, growing old with the ones we love—but more often than not, that’s not how life unfolds.

Maybe you drop out of school, or maybe you make it through only to find that there are no jobs in your field.

Maybe you can afford two houses, or maybe you can barely pay your rent.

Maybe you have a child before you’re ready, or maybe you find out that motherhood might not be in your particular stack of cards.

Life, ultimately, is not as ordered as we would like to think. It disregards plans and expectations. As one of my incredible infusion nurses once told me, “Life is full of detours and this is just a detour”. If there is a silver lining in any of this, it is the sparkling silver-white one found in miniature snowmen. It is the knowledge that life can be wonderful, as long as we listen to the voices of reason and are open to the beauty inherent in all that we already have.

Like children on a wintry playground, it’s not about how much snowfall you’re given—it’s about what you do with it.

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