...what did I just say??
I repeated it, "This was the year that so many of the 'no's in my life made sense".
The profound gift of that sentence was not lost on me. I looked at my friend and he smiled and reached out and squeezed my arm. I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked down, hoping he wouldn't notice the tears...although happy tears...filling my eyes. He did...and he said, "You're one of the lucky ones."
I said in a shaky voice, the sentence I've come to say a lot, "God has been so kind to me. He didn't have to be...but He was. And I love Him for it."
I recently wrote about the gift of a broken heart on my Instagram. I think people assumed I was talking about a broken romance. Even though, that accounts for one of the heartbreaks, that was years past, and probably one of the easier experiences as I look back. Friendships...family...my career...church...seemingly missed opportunities...mostly, myself...these were all tools that God allowed to break my heart throughout the years.
I remember sitting on my bathroom floor in the basement of our home in Bloomington, IL. I was hugging my knees with one arm, gripping my chest with the other trying to somehow divert the pain in my heart. I had a roommate in the other room, so like rabbits who cry with no vocal chords, I quietly let every cell of my skin ache as I silently sobbed into the sleeve of my shirt.
I asked God, "Do you know?...and if you do, why don't you care?"
There were so many yes's too. But as it's been said, I succeed a little because I've failed a lot.
You see...if I'd married that boy, I would have never applied to State Farm. If I'd gotten the position in Marketing at State Farm and wasn't told, "You need more experience", I would have never bought a camera to get the experience. I would have never sat during my third shift job in my cubicle reading through Jasmine Star's blog believing I could maybe do something different. If I didn't have one of my first clients angrily email and tell me how awful my images were and, "If your mother was alive, she'd be ashamed of you", I'm not sure I would have practiced shooting SO MUCH and refusing to give myself excuses for bad images in the future. Had the local photographers I reached out to not told me "we don't help competition", I'm not sure I would have ever reached out to Chicago photographers...where they became some of my best friends to this day...and lead to client referrals from them...and eventually, my move to Chicago.
Had the ministry I had reached out to not told me I wasn't spiritually trustworthy, I wouldn't have started attending a church in Chicago that lead to a small group where I met a group of women that spoke truth into my life and I understood healing in a way I had never known. Had I gotten the scholarship for my business I'd applied for, I would have gone to Seattle and met Jasmine and JD in a whole different context. Had I not had a friend tell me no one take me seriously and I'd be better off selling everything to her...I'm certain, I would have never emailed Jasmine asking for advice out of desperation...and she would have never called me...and told me to never quit. Our friendship would have never developed...and I would have never ended up in California.
The truth is, I hate failure and broken hearts. Even now as I write this and can see all the good in it. I want to ask God never to make me go through something like that again...I want to pray for great success and nothing but roses and daisies. But just as I'd never wish a life of only yes's to the ones I love, I know that there are many more no's in my future. However, now I know that the pain now is part of the joy of the future...that silent cries on bathroom floors are part of the happy tears celebrating success...and that the brokeness of the past is part of the healing in today.