Trials and Pushing Through

In church we had a lesson on enduring trials. The topic was introduced with an explanation that hard things are an expected part of life and they come to all of us, but that there is purpose to the difficulties we face. They help us grow. I believe this is true, but there are times I don’t like it much. I’ve heard lessons similar to this one before. When I’m in a calm space, I can appreciate them and understand the plan and purpose behind difficult things. This particular week has been a calm after a storm. At least I hope it is after the storm rather than a calm in the eye of it. It meant that I listened to the lesson with caution, not sure when I would become upset or irrationally irritated by something that was said. I’m still sorting through decisions made and seeking for peace with the plan for going forward. There were a few moments when a part of my brain supplied an unkind interpretation to something that was said, fortunately I had enough emotional space to know that my thoughts were the result of my current level of sensitivity, not because of what the speaker intended.

During the past few weeks while I’ve been worn and scrambling, Kiki has been dealing with a flavor of artistic crisis. She keeps getting 3/4 of the way done with a piece and then to use her words “It dies.” Somehow the life has gone out of it for her and completing it feels like complete drudgery. Among all the other things going on, I watched as the array of incomplete art began to accumulate on the piano. In my eyes they were all beautiful, worthy. I wanted to see all of them done, but Kiki couldn’t do it. This made her very upset. She doubted her chosen life path of illustration art as a career. She doubted herself. Mostly she struggled with this solo because she new how busy Howard and I were. This morning in church she got up and shared a story that made it clear how this particular struggle is going to result in her improving as an artist. There were times when I wanted to lecture her about pushing through, telling her that she can’t learn the lessons she needs unless she finishes what she started. I suspect she was able to see the shape of that lecture in the things I was carefully not saying. She probably gave that lecture to herself. This is one of the things I am trying to do as a parent, step back and let my almost-adult daughter find her own way. And she will, because she is amazing. Also, I think most of my frustration is just a selfish desire to see the beautiful pictures complete. Hopefully she too has come to the end of the struggling part.

Maybe we’re done struggling, maybe we’re not. Either way the answer is to keep going, keep starting over when things go wrong, keep finding ways through, and have faith that we’ll get to have smooth travels again.