Change is not impossible. Telling ourselves it cannot be is the way we get ourselves off the hook. (Nothing like starting the year off with honesty, right?)
When we tell ourselves that we cannot:
~help our child
~lose that weight
~break that habit
~dig out of debt
~create healthier relationships
~tell the truth
~change our lives
what we are really saying is we don't want those things. Or we don't want to struggle to find the answer. Or we don't want to make the hard choice... which may really make things worse before making them any better.
So, we sit in this place and find ourselves at the start of a brand new year in a very similar place to where we were last year and we feel hopeless. And that is awful. For me, without a doubt, hopelessness is BY FAR the worst thing I could feel. It freezes me. Makes me want to turn my head away and do absolutely nothing.
But it is all a lie, this hopelessness. I promise it is.
Don't believe it.
And please do not even let yourself whisper that lie. Not to anyone. Especially not to yourself.
Because here's the thing. Your child is not hopeless. And the situation you find yourself in, is not hopeless either. And all those things you think cannot happen because you are too tired or its been too long or you have tried everything or there is no way out... all of those things... ALL OF THEM... can change.
But, because it is so big to even think about it, we continue to sit still. And then 2015 will come and here we will still be.
What if today, we made one small move? What if today we decided that we would try one TINY thing? What if we got up off the couch and tried to squint our weary eyes and look for a new a path and just took one baby step in the direction of that new journey? What if making a change for ourselves, our families, our very lives had less to do with a huge, overwhelming task and more to do with willing ourselves to try in a new direction.
The other night, our whole family was eating dinner talking about the possibility of taking a day to go skiing. My husband, Mark, loves the idea. My older boys, ages 16 and 15, are eager. My 11 year old, Josiah? He was scared to death! To him, the very idea of skiing seems reckless, terrifying, impossible. He is a cautious kid and always happy to find a cozy spot and enjoy a good book. Plummeting down a hill at unknown speeds with certain death at the bottom? He would rather not, thank you very much.
For Josiah, the idea of trying this new thing is overwhelming. It is a change in his life that he cannot wrap his head around. He doesn't know HOW to ski and started telling all of us about how he doesn't know how to stop, doesn't know how to turn, what if he falls... etc...
The details were just too much.
As he put his head in hands at the table with us, Noah began to explain that while it all seems hard, it really is not.
"In fact," he said, "if you want to turn, all you have to do is glance in that direction and you will begin to turn. Glancing changes your balance just enough to gently move you in a new direction."
Sixteen-year-olds can be so wise.
Today is not the first day of a brand new year. And it does not have to be. But change can come where it is needed... if we only move in a new direction. It's not overwhelming, you see? It's not a about a great big bunch of overwhelming tasks.
Just look. Seriously. Turn your head just a tiny titch. Glance in a new direction.