Yesterday I hugged my brother and watched him disappear into his new life. After years of training and a lifetime of subconscious preparation, my brother left to fulfill his contract with the US Air Force, Special Forces division. For the next two years he will undergo the most intense training a person can endure, to prepare him for some of the most dangerous work a person can do. My baby brother, my only sibling, hugged me goodbye as he left to face his fears, get his ass kicked, become a warrior, and serve our country. In that moment (and in the days and hours leading up to it), my heart ripped open as I faced my fear of uncertainty and pain, sadness for the time and life we’d all miss together, and immense pride in the courage and devotion that my brother embodies. I know you have experienced this moment too, in your own way. A changing of the chapter that you never wanted to end; a helplessness and heartache that you never wanted to face. Joining a club you never asked to be a part of. Whether it was the end of a relationship, a life, a career, a home, an identity – it frickin’ hurt. Crying on my husbands’ shoulder in the hours leading up to this moment, I noticed a familiar song playing. The lyrics that caught my attention in that moment are some of my favorite ever written – so much that I have a coffee mug with them etched on it – “Spirit lead me where my faith is without boarders, let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.” Whenever I’m faced with a difficult moment – times that feel so much bigger than me, that require more strength than I feel I have to give, or that simply seem impossible - I turn to these lyrics. These words remind me of how much capacity we have for living. I’m reminded of the fact that we only use 10% of our brains. I’m reminded that our hearts can handle more love and more ache that we ever thought possible. I’m reminded of how much the body can bend without breaking. We are far more capable of handling everything that comes with being alive than we even know. We can walk on the waters we’ve been called to. I’m reminded of the tattoo on my brother’s forearm, “PAIN IS TEMPORARY.” I’m reminded that when we’re brought to our knees we’re being asked to grow, to push through the impossible, and to have faith beyond the boarders of our understanding that this to shall pass, that this too is necessary for what’s coming next, and yes, we can handle it. There’s a classic song that many of us love that says, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” The truth is, pain is a part of life, and so is immense joy, love, beauty, and pleasure. We are capable of experiencing all of it. The ending of one chapter and the beginning of another is uncomfortable and often painful, but it allows us to experience something new. The next chapter is an invitation for new memories, new adventures, new victories and losses, new loves, and a new part of life that we couldn’t have dreamed we’d have the capacity for. So, here we go - me, you, my brother, our nation - onto the next part of the journey, with a trust that knows no boarders, ready for the next dance, stronger than before, with a greater capacity than we can imagine. God bless us all, and God bless America.
With love and gratitude,
Ps - If you're in the midst of heartache as well, you may want to check out a blog post I wrote a few years ago,"5 essences to ease heartache" It's an oldie but a goodie. May it serve you well.