The Other Side

My life has been in a bit of turmoil recently. Things are changing in my life and I don’t like change. Even when change is for good, it is still something unknown. It is still losing something that once was. There is grief in loss, even loss that brings something much better into my life. It is entering unknown territory. Good change can be a new job, a new house, a new car, a new friend, or anything that changes life. Once I embrace the good change I often find it is the most exciting and wonderful thing ever.

Then the thing I enjoy, love, or think I can’t live without changes. I fight, stomp my feet, throw a temper tantrum, and I am convinced that life will never be the same. The truth is that once change happens, life isn’t the same anymore. Sometimes thing work out for the best and other times it doesn’t. Some people try to convince me that change always turns out good in some way. An old cliché says, “God doesn’t close a door without opening a window.” There are variations of that cliché but they mean the same thing.

I don’t necessarily believe that God is sitting around watching my life and waiting for the moment He can slam a door shut. I can’t believe that God would say, “Oh, let’s see if she can find her way out of this one. I will throw a few obstacles in the way and see.” Life happens to all of us. People make choices that affect lives. I do believe that I can grow and learn from any situation and that God can help lead and direct me to the next door or window. The more I fight what is happening, the longer the journey to that door or window.

Last night I had the opportunity to be in a group and talk about what is going on in my life. I learned some lessons from the encounter. Some of the lessons are ones I have to keep learning. Maybe the first question I should answer is one my therapist used to throw at me. “What are you gaining from behaving this way or staying in this situation? You are getting something from it or you would change it.” It is a hard question to hear and often more difficult to answer.

We talked last night about what it looks like on the other side. If I am so busy focusing on the problem, my pain, anger, or confusion, I will surely miss the other side. Let’s take a beach ball. Let’s say you and I stand face to face holding the beach ball. If someone asks what color the beach ball is, I would answer blue and red. You would wonder what I was thinking and answer that the ball is green and orange. Neither of us would budge on that answer since we are telling the truth as we see it. But, if we decide to stop arguing and turn the ball so that we can each see the other side; we will see something we didn’t see before.

My friend used to tell that my life was like a huge puzzle. More along the lines of 100,000 piece puzzle rather than the 500 piece ones. The outside of the puzzle was easy. The straight edges were a dead giveaway. Other pieces seemed to come together quickly. In time, huge sections of the puzzle were completed. As life goes on more sections will be completed. Then I get stuck. I fight to force pieces in place that don’t really fit. When I do that, the piece that was meant to go there is cast aside. Other pieces seem to have no place in my life until I turn them over and see the other side. Once I turn it over and see the color and lines, it is much easier to see how that fits into my life.

In the same way, I need to let go of the anger, pain, and confusion about what is happening in my life. That isn’t something I can do simply by sprinkling my magic pixie dust and wishing on a star. It is going to take effort and faith. I can’t see the other side yet and there is no guarantee I will. There are things I may never understand. Losing custody of children, my best friend’s death, winding up in an abusive marriage, the death of my only friend when I was six are things for which I haven’t found the other side. There have been times in my life that I gave up, ran away, and turned my back on everything I knew. I had no hope of ever seeing the other side. I still have times I want to give up, when it seems to be too hard and too painful.

I do not claim to understand the ways of life and faith and God. I don’t think bad things in my life happened JUST so I could share my experience, strength, and hope with someone else. Because they did happen, I have the opportunity to share my other side. I choose to do that today because I know there is power and healing not only for others, but also for me. I have the choice every day to give up or give back. Trust me when I say there are days I give up. Funny thing is, at those times, someone always comes to show me their other side.

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12 responses

  1. Cathy, you can write your way through to healing so beautifully and in the process you help us to heal…and to see the other side. I love how you hold things up and look at them in clear light, not hiding behind cliches or quick fixes. There’s a blunt honesty about how you see life. There’s an ability to speak a truth that is in no way easy to speak. Thank you, I’m sure for all of us.

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  2. Very powerful words …I’m also a recovering addict …. It is very hard for us .. i feel every part of what you say…..Tim

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    1. Nice to meet you Tim. Thank you for your comment.

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  3. I’m right there with you, friend!

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  4. Great reminder, and fantastic timing. Thanks.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, too. Come again!

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  5. One of the best yet! I love your puzzle analogy and the beach ball.
    This one really touched me. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks Robin. I can’t claim all the credit for them but they helped me as well.

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  6. “The other side” is such an important idea. Choice, change, new belief (or disbelief) are all well and good, but like trying on a new sweater. It all has to go that next step, to the other side, where ideas, beliefs, relationships…even sweaters…all get a little lived in.

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  7. Good post, Cathy. Sometimes we wonder why God ever put us in a certain circumstance, but reading the OT and NT accounts, we understand that His purposes begin with our trust. He is always leading. I, like you, want to follow.

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  8. Awesome!

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  9. The beach ball analogy is the perfect visual for me– truth is how you see it, but by stepping back, you gain perspective not only on your truth but the truth of others! Thank you. 🙂

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