They say there’s a silver lining to every cloud. They say we have two choices: the easy wrong and the hard right. But sometimes, we choose not to believe them.
I believe, for months, that there is no silver lining to this particular cloud. It hangs ominously over the hard right path, so naturally, I chose the easy wrong path. I choose it time after time. It’s familiar, and I’m scared. I’m convinced that this path will be easier. I believe the unhappiness will give way to the happiness I experienced when I first started on this particular journey. For a while, I go along. I rationalize and justify. I choose to see only what I want to see. I ignore the unhappiness I feel. I believe I can keep walking this easy wrong path if I only focus on the good times. After all, the clouds have to part and the sun will shine brightly again eventually, right?
If only it were so easy.
Eventually, it becomes too much. There’s a thundercloud here, too. I can no longer ignore it. I realize what I had chosen to forget: that the unhappiness always finds me again on this path. I pray that the cloud will float away, but it doesn’t. Not this time.
I stop to sit. I breathe. I breathe until I connect to my heart. I breathe until I’m able to listen, to see clearly, and to trust. My perspective shifts. I take off my rose-colored glasses, and see things as they are.
I’ve reached the end of the easy wrong path. Again, a choice. I can continue here, or merge onto the hard right path. I’m finally strong. I’m finally ready. I look up at the thundercloud that lurks above the hard right path. I see clearly, and notice that there is a silver lining. Its luster diminishes the darkness of the thundercloud. I suddenly know I’ll be able to weather this storm.
I merge onto the hard right path. I take a few tentative steps. My body and mind relax. The tightness I’ve been carrying in my body for months dissipates. I listen, and all I can hear is my heart screaming, “Yes!” I’m no longer scared. I know that there is something bigger and better out there, waiting for me. I know that finally, I chose the right path, and that I will be okay.
Headshot: Julie Hove Andersen