It was a perfect storm: The anniversary of the end of my pregnancy and marriage. PMS. The veterinarian telling me my dog had maybe a week to live. An out-of-town teaching engagement bookended by two intensely demanding weeks at work.
Because the greater hell would be to lose my dog while away than to lose my reputation, I cancelled the teaching gig, giving two days notice. I wandered the house, sobbing. I could think of nothing to do for myself but let the waves break over me. So I let them.
And when there was enough space to take a few breaths, I returned to a discipline of thinking that started at age 10 when I began a series of surgeries in my jaw. I would reason through my terror that tomorrow, the surgery would be over, and the day after that, I would be in less pain, and days after that, life would seem normal again. Giving myself a point in the distance helped me appreciate the larger canvas of life beyond the immediate difficulty.
You, too, will get through today–and tomorrow and the day after that–no matter how graceless it may appear to you now. Whatever today looks like from the eye of the storm, it will seem gentler from the other side. Sometimes, just simply making it through is the most profound of triumphs.
Allowing the contractions of life’s greatest agonies to birth us into the bright light of new possibilities is warrior’s work. And, you’re just the woman for the job.