They say that the important things in life, those things that really matter, those things worth pursuing – they say that those things require discipline. Faith, and exercise, and relationship, and art all demand time, consistent time, and intentional pursuit. Excellence does not just happen, a full life does not just happen, and if we are not careful, we may reach the end of our time here on earth having just existed, having never really lived.
For the past several months, I have been existing. To use a tired analogy, I have been drifting, clinging desperately to a branch in the swirling currents, using all my energy just to keep my head above the water. There has been no room for living intentionally, for choosing discipline, only for putting one foot in front of the other and making it through another day. Habits have fallen away, habits I worked hard to cultivate. And I think, sometimes, that this is normal and necessary, that there are seasons in this life where we are overwhelmed and heartbroken, and existing is all we can manage, and we must allow ourselves this grace.
In the past week or two, however, I’ve felt as though I’m coming out of a fog, lifting my head to realize that there is beauty in this world, even in times of darkness. I have this image in my mind of a young shoot, tenuously pressing itself up through the soil after winter has passed, spreading its leaves as it feels the warmth of the spring sun. Cautiously hopeful, realizing that this life brings pain, but it also brings joy, and that closing myself off to love and to hope may protect me from hurt, but it also prevents me from being truly alive.
So it’s time. Time to start living again, to pursue those things that matter most. Time to be intentional with my time, in my relationships, in my faith and my writing. Time to rebuild those good habits, painful and difficult as that might be.
Because I don’t want to merely exist. I choose, this moment, to live.