The first time someone told me I was lucky, I froze. It was the last word I would use to describe my situation. How was being a single parent lucky? How was divorce something to be grateful for??
But I’ve heard it several times over the past year. Women who are older, wiser, tell me that I’m lucky that I’m still young. That I still have time.
It’s funny, isn’t it? How our experiences frame reality? How our attitudes change depending on our age?
Recently, I was at a grape stomp with a friend who is in the middle of the storm. She can’t see past the pain, past the rejection. We talk a lot about our stories. Where they overlap and where they diverge. And how we didn’t sign up for this life. We didn’t want to be thirty-something and single with kids.
But here we are regardless.
I jokingly asked her what the winery experience might symbolize. “Something about stomping?” She said coyly.
I laughed knowing that she was serious. Stomping does seem appropriate when you’ve been blindsided by life. But, as I thought more about it, I realized that she was right. Transformation starts with stomping.
Grapes are just grapes. But wine… well, wine is something altogether different. Something, in fact, better. And the first step in making wine is crushing the grapes. Of course, stomping has been replaced by machinery – but both involve the smashing of the grapes. It’s the only way to get the juice. Then it’s fermented. Aged. Bottled. And enjoyed.
So this is what I’m thinking. What if the pain, the struggle, the unexpected hardship actually is the process of changing us into something different? Someone better?
At least that’s what I tell myself when pity peers in. And I play the melancholy music. Again. I have to remind myself that change starts with destruction. But, it doesn’t end there. With time and the right conditions, something nuanced and complex and beautiful is created.
Maybe we are lucky. Because time is something we do have on our side.
We just have to wait.
We have to trust the process.