I’m so glad you made it

I’m so glad you made it

We’re at a cosy café sipping a caramel latte (my shout this time), talking about life.

How are you?  What kind of year have you had beautiful friend? Did you muster all your strength to stumble to the finish line, or race victoriously over? Are you relieved this year is done? Are you moving into the next year happy, excited, scared or sad? Maybe you don’t care, it’s just another day after all. Or maybe you’re like me, always thinking in seasons and chapters where singular moments can define so much. Maybe like me, you put a lot of stock in new beginnings.

We talk and laugh about silly resolutions we’ve made, some to last a lifetime and others a few short weeks (my gym membership and your jazz flute).  It sounds like there are things in your life that are deeply unsettling, causing you fear, and keeping you stuck from the life God created you to live. We both get teary talking about this, so I grab your hand and suddenly I have this overwhelming urge to encourage you to take back the driver seat of your life.

Your mess is different to mine, but at some point we all need to dig down deep and find the courage to say, “enough is enough” or “I want to be happy”. To say, “I want to be well, I want to love and give love in return”, “I want to be part of something that matters” or just “I want to feel normal again”. Whatever your heart cry is, listen to it and put something in place to step towards that.

I remind you that when I was stuck, you encouraged me to talk to someone. This could be a loved one, a family member, a friend or a professional. For me it was all of the above. This will seem scary, but I promise it is the most freeing and rewarding thing you can do. It might take a couple of tries to say clearly what you are feeling or to get the response you need, but don’t give up and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to hit a certain timeline. I remind you to celebrate each moment you get a little piece of ‘you’ back.

After a few more tears and some cake I share this story with you.

A lady I knew loved her garden and was dedicated to tending to it everyday. She had tropical imported flowers, lush green grass, ferns that climbed up walls and grew over archways and not a single weed in sight. One day she was seriously injured at work, and for weeks she was stuck in bed unable to care for her garden. She watched as all the hard work and effort put in seemed to come undone, as weeds grew up and the beautiful plants started to wither. From the window of her room, it seemed like too much work to ever start again from scratch. The summer sun had scorched the garden beyond repair. Months passed and winter came, it rained heavily for days on end and after looking out her window one morning, she was pleasantly surprised.

Amongst the weeds were a few budding flowers, brought back to life by the rains. She realised she wouldn’t need to start from scratch as the garden had survived and was still there, hidden away under the debris. Thankfully gardens are full of seeds, which can grow again and again with the right care. This was the encouragement she needed, so she started little by little tending the garden. She didn’t have her full health back yet, so it was just watering the plants at first. But surely enough, with just some water, a few more hardy flowers sprang back to life. As her physical health improved, so did her ability and desire to take on more in the garden. It didn’t all happen at once, but eventually it was the delight and passion it once was.

Your life is like this garden.

You’ve been hurt, your capacity has changed, and things feel a little overgrown and out of control, but please hear me—you are so valuable. Let this conversation be the rain that sprung the hardy flower back to life. Let reaching out for help show you that the seeds and roots that sustain you still exist.

My friend, don’t allow the fear of starting from scratch stop you from doing something, no matter how small. Remember that the years of work, love, success, joy and strength through hardship are all wrapped up into little seeds that can grow again and again with just a little water. So reach out, start to dream again, do the things you love, that bring you alive and start to share those things with people. Let people enjoy you and enjoy the love others want to give you.

Despite what fear may have you think, you are amazing and capable and strong. You are a garden full of life and potential.

As we get up to leave, we give each other a hug, and I remind you that if you ever need someone to help water the plants, I’m your girl.

It’s been a hard year for you, but I’m so glad we travelled through it together. And as you walk out the door, I say, “I’m so proud of you for making it through 2016. I’m so glad you made it.”