Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rainstorms, Silver Linings, & the Struggle Bus

My current favorite song! Press play and read. 

Anyone who knows me semi-well/reads this blog semi-regularly knows that I've pretty much been on the struggle bus for the past two-ish months.
And people have been asking questions.....
Between graduating from college, starting a new job that is only loosely related to my degree, getting dumped, realizing a lot of the people I thought were my friends really weren't, and being faced with the daunting reality of my future, I've had a really hard time trying to keep my head up.

My feels lately.
Amid all my attempts to keep a positive attitude and put my faith in God, I still sometimes find myself feeling sad because this isn't how I imagined my life, frustrated because there are people out there who have what I want, and scared knowing I literally have no idea what the future holds. There are days when I just want to crawl under a rock and hide from everything.

And then there are days when I wish I could just stay in my bed and watch One Tree Hill for the rest of forever.
I was sitting at FHE on Monday night when I had a realization though.

Up until this realization, I hadn't had the best day. I was running on four hours of sleep, had felt sick to my stomach all day after eating tons of fatty, sugary foods all weekend in San Francisco, and was stressing over why the guy I like doesn't seem to like me back.  

It was 8:26 p.m. The sun was setting, and a slight breeze drifted through the yard, gently ruffling my hair. A girl I had never met was singing a moving acoustic rendition of "Come Thou Fount." I looked at the mountains to the east, at the sun setting to the west, at the horses grazing in the pasture next door. I looked at the people around me, all of whom have their own struggles, fears, and inadequacies.

And in that moment, I realized that I'm going to be okay.
We're all going to be okay.
Hopefully more than okay, but for now okay is just fine.

In that moment I realized that it's okay to have a bad day. Hell, it's okay to have a lot of bad days. It's okay to struggle and hurt. It's okay to feel frustrated and mad at the world occasionally.

But what's not okay, I realized, is missing out on all the little things that make life awesome and interesting and beautiful. It's not okay to ignore the little silver linings that make you smile and feel better on a daily basis. And it's certainly not okay to feel ungrateful for those silver linings. 

I realized it's not okay to feel ungrateful for the popsicles and Guarana a friend offers you after a round of tennis.
It's not okay to ignore that moment your favorite song comes on on the radio right when you're feeling at your lowest.
It's not okay to overlook how happy going to the beach for the first time in two years makes you.  
It's not okay to deny yourself those happy little moments just because you're not 100% happy with your life. 
It's not okay to take your life — with all of its challenges, inconveniences, twists and turns, and silver linings — for granted.

It is totally okay to party as hard as Ferris Bueller.
I love what President Uchtdorf said: "How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God there is rain? Being grateful in times of distress does not mean we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges. This is not a gratitude of the lips, but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind."

Isn't that awesome? Gratitude literally has the power to heal our hearts, thereby allowing us to move beyond our shortcomings and pitfalls. 

It's like what Kacey Musgraves says: "If you're ever gonna find a silver lining, it's gotta be a cloudy day. And if you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning, you're gonna have to stand in the rain."

Yes, I did just quote an apostle and a country artist side-by-side. #GETONMYLEVEL

The point is: we're all going to have to stand in the rain occasionally. But that doesn't mean we can't be grateful for the pretty green grass and flowers that'll spring up because of that rain. Just because it's raining doesn't mean we can't take a step outside and dance around and have a good time. Just because our lives aren't everything we dreamed they'd be doesn't mean we can't be happy. 

Because if we can learn to be happy when things are at their worst, just think about how much more happy we'll be when life is at its best.

The trick is to look beyond ourselves, beyond our circumstances, and beyond our struggles to see that there are always things — both big and small — that make life pretty incredible. There are always silver linings to keep us going. There are always reasons to be grateful. And above all, there are always good things to come

Ferris Bueller himself said it best: 

So let's all get out there and go be happy. Because there's no reason not to be.