Yes. That’s you.
You are the fighter.
I know. You want to be the lover. You hadn’t planned on being the fighter. You didn’t sign up for this. You hadn’t prepared for this. You’re ducks weren’t all in a row. This wasn’t written in pretty script in your day planner. This isn’t a good time for the fight. Could we maybe do this in 4 months when I am mentally and organizationally prepared? you wonder.
I know. You want to hide under a fort of blankets, in your bed, clutching a pillow, and clenching your eyelids tight to one another until you get the all clear… until you know that this was all just a drill… that it was just one of those Lifetime Christmas movies where, at the end, everything was just a cautionary tale of what could happen if life went a different way. Different from your plans.
I know. You are bargaining, right? I will do this… if only this… You are hoping and praying and wondering if you did something that brought this to you. If this is some sort of karma. If you had let yourself get to comfortable with how life was rolling along. You are wondering if there is a Door #2 that you can choose if only you wouldn’t have to do this part.
I know. You’re feeling the battle. It’s scary. You’re in place of emotional ebbs and flows. You don’t want to go to sleep. But you don’t want to stay awake. You don’t want to know what tomorrow will bring. But you need to get away from today. You want to enjoy every minute of the normal again. But you fear it may never be normal again. You feel like you maybe could have prevented this. You could have made it better. You could have done it all differently and it wouldn’t be so terrifying and paralyzing now.
Dear Fighter, I know. And I have to tell you… I know you have to go through this. I know that you can get through this. I know because so many of us get to get through these lessons of life. I know that the breaking open feels so much heavier when you didn’t have a bag ready to carry it all. But fighter, you don’t have to do this in solitude. That’s the good news. You will be the one living it. But in the fight, more than any other time, is when you lean. That is why we are given human wonders to help us through. And Godly shoulders to hand over our trials to, no matter the story behind our story.
I know. Your world feels as though it has ceased to spin. It feels like you are winding through space without any sort of force to bring you back to the earth you once knew. It feels like your feet may never again touch the ground with the same weight. It feels like your heart will never work the same as it surely shattered into tiny specks of courage that you need to piece back together if you’re ever going to make it through.
I know. It feels like all that exists in your world is this. And that it is everything that will define you for the rest of your existence. I know that you feel like you will never unfeel this. And you won’t. But you will grow with it. Because of it. In it. But you don’t have any other way but to go through.
Dear fighter, you can do this. You can. It will be hard. It will suck. It will, at times, feel unfair. And at others, it may — it just MAY — feel like you were meant for this. I know this.
I know. I know that you can survive this blow to your identity. I know you will find a way to cultivate a spirit of you-ness through the seeds of change and the showers of hope. And you might look back and see your old self and realize that this was a necessary chapter in your story. You also, may not. You may be bitter about it. You may forever begrudge it all… the way that you learned to fight. What you take from this, so much, is up to you.
But here’s what I want you to know.
I know you will see it all differently. Maybe just differently than you had before. Maybe differently than you ever could have without it. Maybe differently than any others around you. But you will see and feel and experience it all through a hard-earned lens.
Dear Fighter, I know. I know this was not what you wanted. I know this was not in your plans. I know this feels like a trudge through the sludge to earn some sort of perspective. But our choices are often to grow from life OR to stop living. And I think most of us would take the latter, knowing that we are stronger for it, whether we wanted to become stronger or not.
I know. Someday down the road, you will look back and not be able to believe you did it. You will see another human being going through your circumstances, but in their own life, and you will wonder how they are doing it. Why they have to do it. And then you will remember, you did it, too. And they will have to do it like you — they will have to go through it to come out on the other side.
I know. You want to make it through unscathed. Unchanged. Unknown. But, my dear fighter, perhaps the very best part of the hard is the goodness that it brings with its wings. So don’t push it all away. Go through. And know that in so many ways, you are fortunate to have that right.
Dear fighter, I don’t know what your fight is. But I know that we are built to withstand a whole helluva lot more than we ever want to imagine. And I know what a miracle that is. This is not fair. But as we have been told over and over since we were children, “life is not fair.”
You can do this, fighter. You may not be ready for the fight but you better get out your gloves and step in the ring. Because I want you to fight strong and fight back. I want, that when you get knocked down, you can pull your socks up, wipe your brow, and be ready if you need to take another one on the chin.
Life is full of good and bad. Hard and easy. Ebb and flow. And whether it is through love, acceptance, or kicking and screaming the entire way, if you make it out alive… you’ve gotten the prize of your life. Just ask the fighter who didn’t get to. And in the end, the fight that brought you to where you are will have all seemed somehow like you were made for it. And on that day, you, fighter, will get to step ( or sprint or crawl or struggle) out of the ring, look up, and say, “I did that.”
And that will be the moment worth fighting for.