by Mrs. Smith on March 8, 2021

It can be both.
What can? Life can.
Your hair. Your family. Your friends. Your commute. Your job. Your day.
All the things, really.

Both what?
Good and bad.
Deeply joyful and deeply painful.
Crippling and empowering.
Hugely important and irrelevant.
Beautiful and detestable.
Cherished and repugnant.

It can be both.
And that can actually be okay.

Sometimes one aspect or another may overshadow everything else for a time. That’s okay, too. Allow it to be what it is. I spent yyyyyyyyyyyears very awkwardly learning to live this meme:

Eventually I must have figured something out here because lately, I’ve been surprising myself with the ability to live completely in this funky “both”-land, to slide between all the emotions, to really dive in and feel them fully – and still be functional.

This is how the last week went:

I’m here in Hawaii, yay! It’s great to be back. So, so great.
But it’s only for 3 weeks (boo) because it turns out there’s a not-tropical paradise and –surprise– we already moved there (yay!)…

I love this place and the people in it SO MUCH, yay!
Holy heck, it’s hard saying goodbye. Boo.

I’m excited about where the next step took us and the awesome new friends we’re getting to know, yay!
But wow is it different and not what we’re used to and that can leave a person feeling lost and lonely sometimes. Boo.

It can be both.

It seems like such a big deal thing, this move.
And yet…

When we were at the airport on the way here, I took a second to scroll through fb, and discovered that a dear friend from our time in Washington…. her teenage son died unexpectedly. He’s the same age as my oldest. It’s absolutely devastating news.

THAT is a big deal.
It makes this everything else seem irrelevant. How is there any joy anywhere in the world at all when THAT just happened???

And then, a few days ago, another friend told me about her impending divorce. That’s a huge change for their family, and one of those things that can be super hard depending on circumstances.

Capstone to all of this, last Thursday was the anniversary of the loss of one of earth’s brightest souls, Grif the Great.



What people live through can be quite beyond comprehension. And somehow our hearts learn to expand around that pain and let the light in.

Tread gently, dear friends –

so gently –

with yourself and with others.

And when you can, embrace the beautiful and joyful and exciting and peaceful and messy and adventurous and monotonous and difficult and easy.

If knowing Grif taught me anything, it’s that life is for loving and living with your whole heart, even the hard parts.

It can be the best of times and the worst of times, at the same time.
It can be the worst of times, and it can stay that way for a while, AND your surviving it can give you strength that you can use to help others, and that can eventually be a very good thing.

When waves of hard stuff come at me, “It can be both,” is a mantra that helps me bounce back and wade through and surface again.

Whatever it is, it’s okay for it to be what it is –
and it’s okay for it to be both.

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