Last week I spoke about marriage, relationships, and the importance of not believing the story is over with the commitment, with the “I do.” But sometimes we do, things fall apart, and we wake up to the reality that what we have is miles away from what we had, or what we wanted, or dreamed we’d have. This is not exclusive to marriage. Our children, careers, health (whether mental, physical, spiritual, and/or financial), and on and on, all are susceptible to this heartbreaking disappointment.
I’ve struggled with food (sugar, mostly) & weight for almost my entire life. I would lose some weight, then once I would reach a goal, or “arrive,” then I would lose focus and over time, get back to a situation where I would have to lose some weight again. Obviously, I’m not the only one, the diet industry is massive and thrives on this sort of behavior. We’ve all been in jobs where they’re not what we signed up for – or they are, but we hoped they’d change, or hoped we could change them. We have relationships that have fallen into abuse, or infidelity, or disrepair.
Somehow, these circumstances (whatever they are) become uncomfortable, or unfulfilling, or destructive. And then what? What do we do?
We want to lose weight and don’t transform our lifestyles, don’t alter our behavior in the kitchen. We hate our jobs, yet resign to mindless routine. Our marriages are eroding and we continue to walk the same steps in the same old snow. There are a million examples, as unique as we are, but the heart posture is the same; despair. It is what it is. Really? Is it?
What if we could restore our families? What if we could reconnect with our spouses? Or find purpose in our careers? Treat our bodies with care and respect? All of this is totally possible, but none of it can happen while we’re stuck in the same ruts made by the same thinking and apathy that caused them. We don’t make new lives at a wishing well alone, don’t create new worlds saying “new worlds” while grasping with white knuckles to the old ones.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. We live these loops, rather than risk taking steps into unknown. These things require dreams and imagination, but not only dreams and imagination. They are the vital beginning, but then, they need to pass into action. Otherwise, the dreams will die, our imagination gets sucked away, and we mourn for the promise of what yesterday was and what tomorrow could be.
I think it’s time to break those soul-crushing loops, and they are simple enough to destroy. All it takes is the courage to move. All it takes is leaving the wide worn path we’ve been walking down. Of course it’s scary, taking (and missing) shots, stepping (and falling) into darkness, making new futures, but we’re all in this together. And to paraphrase the great philosopher Tim McGrath (of Rise Against) says, “let’s take this one step at a time, I’ll hold your hand if you hold mine.”