What kind of a year has 2009 been for you so far, reader friends?
For me, it’s been like a trip to Tuscany. A good friend of mine took a two-week trip to Italy this year with her husband. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips for them, and she was determined to do all the planning and arrangements herself. No pre-packaged tours. It was going to be the two of them exploring Italia in total freedom. Doing the trip “the hard way” is the exact opposite of the McDonalds Experience I described in an earlier post. It’s certainly not Disneyland, is it?
So how was my 2009 like my friend’s trip to Italy? I did things the hard way (and not always by choice). It was exciting (sometimes, too much so). It was challenging (towards the end, definitely too much so). It was scary, and amazing, and transformative, but mostly just intense.
2009 was an adventure, if nothing else. And some people fall into an adventure like that, and find that’s where they want their life to be. My friend didn’t decide to move to Tuscany during her trip, but I’ve heard that happens sometimes.
Would I want to pack up and move permanently to the life I had in 2009? No. Not so much.
I’ve been circling a lot around the idea of “comfort” lately. If there was one thing 2009 was really short of, it was comfort. An uncomfortable year will teach you many things.
It will teach you, for one thing, what really does bring you comfort, and what really doesn’t.
On a recent plane trip, when everything physical and emotional was conspiring to eliminate every bit of comfort I had, listening to songs from Before the Throne reminded me of the comfort even air travel can’t take away.
Being uncomfortable forces you to look at things, not through the misty haze of complacency, but with the sharp and detailed precision of pain.
And it teaches you that when you can’t find comfort, seek out joy.
Joy isn’t happiness. Joy is letting what is good, radiate out of you. Because there’s always something good to radiate.
Comfort and joy, aside from going really well together in a holiday hymn, more or less belong together. Life isn’t made to be a constant state of either comfort, or joy. Both are like islands. They are respites in the middle of a life that must sometimes be made uncomfortable, in order to push us forward.