I was going through some old papers today- random excerpts of writing, letters and some notes from the counselling I had when I was eighteen. I was, in truth, very poorly. I wasn’t really convinced that this life thing would be something I could do – I didn’t think it would ever be worth the pain I was feeling, worth hanging onto the little bit of hope I had left. The counsellor asked me to write down what I would like my life to look like in 5 years. I wrote the following:
“I would like to be an LST graduate. Maybe engaged, or at least in a long term relationship. I want what I have been through to be a memory, not a reality. I want to sing and counsel and lead services, using what I have been through to make a difference in people’s lives. I don’t want to be drawn to self-destruction because I actually want to value my life and my body. Maybe some scars will have faded…?”
It’s easy to forget, you see. We forget how far we’ve come, when we’re only focussing on how far we have left to go. I had no idea, when I was writing those words five years ago, that these things would actually happen – it was a distant dream, a mere whisper of hope.
As hope began to shout louder, I began to listen to it for perhaps the first time. I began to think I might, just might, have a shot at this funny life thing. I took a few risks – some which paid off, others not so much. At some point over the last five years, I began to love the life I lead and the calling I have.
I don’t want this post to come across all smug and schmaltzy, telling you all how wonderful I am and how wonderful my life is – there are still challenges and there will continue to be until I breathe my last. But it’s a life I am fierce about living. I want to ‘do life’ in the best way I can, in a way which honours God above all else. I fail, most days, we all do. If the last five years has taught me something, it’s that you just have to keep going, even when it’s dark and the end is nowhere in sight. Not ‘keep going’ as in burning yourself out, but putting one foot in front of the other, however slow and stumbling, however often you need to rest, just keep going.
As I was writing, I remembered a verse from a long forgotten Robert Frost poem I studied for GCSE which seems to sum it up. However tired I am, however tired of the journey you may be, we’ve got lives to lead and work to be done so that we can say we’ve used all we were given, and lived every year.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.”