A very close friend of mine lost her father recently. I went to the calling hours and was not surprised to see a packed funeral home. As I made my way across the room I looked through the hundreds of photos that showcased a very full life. One with a huge family, gathering after gathering, and a ton of love.
I paid my respects to him and made my way to my friend. As soon as we made eye contact, I knew the hard part would be next. When we did find one another, this was no ordinary hug. It was full of pain, raw feelings, despair, loss, and hopelessness.
I cried with her because I knew all too well what it felt like to lose a father. So, I stood strong to support my friend in her time of need.
But then something very unexpected happened. My mind flashed back to a time several years ago when we hugged with that exact level of emotional intensity.
I had been spending years going through treatments for infertility. Loss after loss after loss. Painful treatments and more painful treatments. More injections and blood draws than I could possibly count. But I kept my eye on the prize. And that helped me push through the pain. The financial burden. The losses. The difficult decisions.
This day I was waiting for a phone call like I had done dozens of times before. A pregnancy test was in the works, and I was waiting for the results.
When I answered the phone I found out that my test was positive and that I had very good levels. Meaning that this pregnancy was potentially one that would last.
I literally thought I was going to explode. I texted my husband and told him to call me (he was anxious waiting for word, too!!). But he didn’t call immediately.
I waited as long as I could to share this news!! I went to my friend’s office (we worked together at the time,,,,one of those work friends that become a forever friend) and actually grabbed her hand and pulled her out of her chair and down the hall where we would have some privacy.
She of course thought I had lost my mind. Because I had not said a word. When we were alone I said the words for the first time,,,,,”I am going to be a mother.”.
I don’t think a second even went by,,,,her hands went up to her mouth and before I could take a breath she had her arms around me. It was an embrace that was full of love, excitement, thankfulness, joy, and hope.
No words. Just pure contact. Not just physical. Emotional. The level of connection that we shared was palpable. One that only true friends will ever experience with one another.
What I Learned
As I stood in the funeral home hugging my friend at one of the lowest points of her life, I realized something. Whether we are experiencing profound sadness or pure joy the intensity is the same. Just on opposite sides of the spectrum.
The thought that lingered with me after the funeral was how we seem to focus more on the sad end of the spectrum. Only seeing the bad things that are happening in our lives. And seeing that the ‘right now’ part of the seesaw of life seems to be loaded with bad experiences.
Not remembering that we can have balance and even counteract the hard parts with one joyful experience after another. And of course, plenty of hugs along the way.
We all need to work through pain,,,,there is no way around it,,,,we have to go through it. But once we get to the other side of the raw pain, we must remember that a joyful experience is around the corner. We just need to see it.
Or plan it. Reach out to that friend. Or schedule that long overdue family reunion. Plan a date night. Or have that monthly game night with the family. Maybe fly somewhere fun for that girls’ weekend. Because intense joy, an equally strong hug, is in our future.
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe,
and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
~ Pablo Picasso
Life is Good. Life is Hard.
It is not news that we all will experience Good and Hard in our lives. But we need to vigorously act (and plan) towards the Good. Load up on those amazing and fulfilling hugs that are just as important, powerful, and necessary as the ones we get when we are experiencing sorrow.
Today I am happy to say,,,,,that Life is Good. For me and my friend. And with every hug that I have participated in since,,,,I’ve gone all in!!
And that feels beyond good.
Comment below if you have had the same epiphany and how you load up on the Good stuff.
P.S. The pregnancy did last. And his name is Max. 💙