After my grandfather passed away, my dad took our family to New York City. He wanted to give my grandmother something to look forward to, and overall it was a lovely trip, but that’s unfortunately not the point I’m here to make. By the last day, we had used up our metro passes, and we were walking across Manhattan with the thermometer reading a mere four degrees. Suffice it to say, my dad and I disagreed on this plan. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a matter of wanting him to pay for a cab, I was more than willing to foot the bill, I was just mad that he wouldn’t let me. We were still going back and forth about it when, a few blocks later, we came to a three-story-tall Build-a-Bear, and we went inside to get warm. If you know me, you know my strange obsession with bears, and that we had undeniably stumbled upon my happy place. Just like that, I was the happiest girl in the world, and my dad told me “you always do this, you know. You get so upset about something and then it turns out to be a blessing.”
It’s the truth.
A few years later, I went through a period of time when I became obsessed with moving to the west coast, and as much as I love the Pacific Northwest, the obsession was not a healthy one. I was in a difficult season at work, and I was letting it erode everything else in my life. Just like the day I stomped across Manhattan certain that I knew best, I tore through that season certain that I’d been treated wrongly and that I would make my world right. I allowed myself to become so disillusioned, all I wanted was to throw it all away and start fresh. That’s hard enough for me to admit, but even worse is the fact that, even after I realized that I was projecting old hurts onto the present, and that many of my assumptions were probably wrong, I wasn’t willing to give them up, and I got scared, because some time in the chaos it became clear that my little plan was a cop out. I was attached to the idea of giving up, so I got more stubborn. More determined to validate my decision. My heart was hard and my mind was made up, and if I’d continued down that path, I’m fairly certain I would have burned my whole life down in my childish anger.
Learn from me, friends.
The truth is, I got really lucky, because a few very key people in my life never gave up on me. Instead of anger, I experienced wild grace. In time, it became clear that many of the very things I had been so upset about at first, somehow uniquely prepared me for a whole new set of experiences that changed my perspective on the world, and in many ways, made me who I am today. It’s one of the most beautiful story lines of my life, because as I unwound and started letting go of the negativity, I found that there were amazing people, amazing moments, and amazing experiences waiting to fill that void.
It was a “turning on a dime” situation. In the space of about a month, I took two trips, one for business the other personal, which together helped me let go and open up. I needed those trips to get me out of my comfort zone and serve as very important space for reflection. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, and I’m convinced frame of mind is a habit, because I remember realizing within 3 weeks of the second that I had gone from feeling depressed every Sunday night (which had been my norm for years) to feeling absolutely zero “Sunday night blues.” Nothing about the situation had changed, if anything, my days were getting more chaotic. It was all perspective. That, my friends, is the difference a change of heart makes.
That’s what I hope you’ll stop and think about for a minute. Are you projecting past hurts onto your present life? Are there things you need to let go of? Ideas or beliefs which may have at one time been based on truth, but which have since been bubble-wrapped with layer after layer of interpretation and assumption?
Do you need a change of heart?