“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.” ––Babs Hoffman
It’s not always easy to enjoy the journey, especially when the journey appears to be a struggle. How can we enjoy the struggles? Is that even possible?
I have an aversion to struggles. Maybe this is a universal thing. I mean, really, who wants to have conflicts and continual issues in life? So why is it that people talk about enjoying the journey, or just letting the process unfold like it’s some secret joke as they smile and walk away? Will someone please let me in on the punchline?
My family and I recently went through a particularly “fun” struggle from mid -September, until last week. My husband was rear ended in a car accident that left us without reliable transportation for nearly a month. It was a tough time for us. But it also was a bit magical too. Okay, maybe a lot magical.
I had finally decided that I was done with feeling so upset and twisted up by life events. I wanted to ride this struggle with a little more enjoyment. I decided to try out the sage advice of those who would smile and say “enjoy the journey,” because not enjoying the journey was becoming too much drama for me. Why was I torturing myself so much over a freaking car? It was just a car after all.
I won’t say I was perfect. I had moments and whole days where the situation of having no car really got to me. But then I’d catch myself, shake it off, and try to find the things in life that were going very well for us. And I have to say, we do have a whole lot going right, and I don’t think I realized how much until this incident.
So I spent a lot of time basking in the things I was appreciative for. I had whole days that I decided to “pretend” we had no car issue and that all was fantastic. I even imagined our new car in the garage, and us taking it out for a ride as a family. And you know, doing these things really helped me enjoy the struggle more than I ever managed to before. It was a huge step forward for me.
The car incident also had some magical results too. A big one was my husband’s coworkers stepping up to offer him rides to and from work. It was really great to feel that sort of love and support. We also ended up with a much newer and bigger car than what we started out with. And we love it so very much (and yes, we’ve taken the Chevy Equinox out for several family rides since purchasing it).
Another major benefit from all of this is it’s really made me reevaluate how I deal with adversity. I’ve always looked at adversity and struggle as negative. I always felt a desire to avoid such instances at all costs. But maybe the struggles aren’t so terrible? Maybe they help us find clarity and help us understand what we really do want out of life?
It makes more sense now. I get the punchline of the secret joke. The struggle, the adversity leads to some of the most magical moments our lives will ever have. We wouldn’t have the opportunity to see these amazing moments if we first didn’t become acquainted with things we really don’t like. It’s the contrast between the good and the so called “bad” that create magic and miracles in our life. All we have to do is be open to it, and see it all unfold in it’s sometimes bizarre and fantastic way.
I will say this too. I believe I could have enjoyed the not-having-a-car issue even more than I did. But I’m still learning. I’m still realizing that my life is not defined by a couple of tough weeks. And the more I can keep my eye on the ball––the enjoyment of life––the smoother and quicker the adversities will find an end.
Yes, during the whole time I really wanted another car (badly), but I also found that the car wasn’t as important as the day to day moments. Our family got to spend a lot of time together than usual (since we had nowhere else to go), and I am so glad for that extra time. It really was worth all the so called hassle.
Eventually, we got the car, but it’s not the car that I will remember the most about this incident. It’s the support of friends, the great times we had together as a family, and the lessons I learned such as…
The struggles really are worth it, because in the end there is always some sort of blessing. Many times there are multiple blessings. It may be difficult to see that while in the midst of adversity, but if we stay focused on the things that are working for us instead of against us, it can change the whole experience entirely.