“We all have….how you say? … Our own avenues, we go down and see and learn from. We each have our own way.”
Her slightly broken English made the phrase all the more poignant, as it tends to do. The friend, let’s call her Gina, was discussing with me the divine beauty of life’s lessons. She had learned the big ones: the importance of being true to one’s self, of being honest, of not compromising what you believe, and so much more, from the heartbreak falling in and out of love. It’s not coincidence that I had learned the same lessons from being ill, from fighting for my life. Another friend in the conversation had learned all the same from trials with her family. Gina couldn’t have said it better: we all have the opportunity to learn the deep, enthralling and profound lessons of life, and we each have our own avenues from which to do so.
The essential element that united us in our conclusions is this: Acceptance. That we accepted the walk down our individual avenue. Gina did not try to avoid the heartbreak from her relationships, she dived into it and explored it with each relationship, and came out stronger. I did not ignore that I was sick, I went into it with body and mind, and came out healthier. When we are presented a road of challenges ahead, we can either choose delusion, doing our best to avoid the conflict or pretend it’s not happening, or we can accept the opportunity to become happier people who are more at peace, and learn all we can from it with an open, accepting heart. Acceptance makes all the difference.
When a soldier is asked by a king to lead an army into battle, he bows, and takes to the field. He doesn’t present excuses for why he can’t be there, or why he doesn’t believe in the war. He accepts the challenge, he draws his sword, and he revels in the fact that he was charged with this duty because he is strong enough, capable enough, and brave enough – and in fact is the only one capable enough and brave enough – to fight through it and win. That is why he was asked.
The same is true for us all, on a much less terrifying scale. When life presents you with a struggle, take your sword, know that you will be bruised and cut a few times on the way, and be proud that life saw the strength and ability in you to charge you with this particular, unique, one-of-a-kind, specially-made-for-you battle. Be it love, be it illness, be it loss or gain or both.
When the fight is over, and you are conversing with the beautiful people you call friends and fellow survivors of love and life, you will be happy you conquered what you did, learned what you did, and that you are able to relate to one another on this deeper level. And they will be thankful to you for doing the same.