I used to think everything in life had to be just so to be happy. But I’ve started to see just how jumbled up and messy life really is. Life is often both beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time. I would like life to be organized into tidy little boxes—the good stuff goes over here, the bad stuff stands alone over there. But that’s not how it usually works.
One night Darren and I were at the old house we’re remodeling. The sky was clear and the stars were sparkling over the fields without the obstruction of city lights to hide them. We pulled a piano bench out in the yard and sat there together under the stars dreaming and planning our life in this new place. We looked up at the sky and took in the stars that we so rarely get to see. While we sat there, chins up looking and dreaming, the most beautiful shooting star I have ever seen zipped by with a trail of flame behind it that you could actually see. I gasped out loud; I was so startled and delighted by it.
That moment with Darren on the piano bench under the stars was perfect. It’s a memory I’ll hold in my heart forever about a time when we were young and we were weaving our lives and dreams together.
But even as beautiful as that moment with Darren was, it’s a sad memory in my heart too. That same day my cousin’s little teenage daughter was killed in a car accident. On that same beautiful night under the stars, I remember pacing the driveway in the dark aching inside and praying for my cousin and my aunt and uncle. I couldn’t comprehend their pain and I couldn’t understand why so much hurt exists in the world.
That moment and that memory will always be bittersweet. It will always be one of my favorite memories with Darren and it will always remind me of my cousin and all she is going through; there is no way to separate the two.
That’s how life is—it’s beautiful and it’s heart breaking. What I’m starting to see is this: Life does not have to be perfectly happy or completely beautiful to be good. Life is a smattering of the good and the bad. It’s messy and complicated and beautiful all at the same time. And that’s okay.