When you’re starting again, how do you know the best place to start? When are you ready? Have you healed enough? Have you sorted yourself out mentally and emotionally? Is your heart in the right place spiritually? It’s hard to be sure – it’s much easier to sit and doubt. Hesitating is easy, but its consequences can be severe. But for most, the natural reaction is hesitation. So you sit and doubt, sort and overthink, and eventually, you get to a place where you can’t wait anymore – you have to act or you will crumble into the abyss, so you act – even if it’s just turning off the TV and going outside. The first step out on the field after an injury, metaphorically or literally speaking, is always the hardest.
You’re never fully ready, as much as you think you are, as much as you may think you’ve mentally prepared yourself. I’ve heard it said that “no battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy,” and any time you are starting again from scratch, no plan will remain intact after its first encounter with the new and unfamiliar world you’re walking into. But you adapt, you always adapt, you have to adapt to survive. You take some shots on the chin, you clean yourself up, you realize you’re tougher than you originally believed, and then you go out and do it again. You get stronger and life gets more manageable, but only if you have the will to keep fighting.
When someone is coming out the other side of a hard experience, they typically look for strength from a few different sources: within, God, and the wisdom of the world/other people. I did a combination of all three. I examined myself, I read books and sought advice, and I prayed. All three pointed to the same conclusion: I am a flawed and broken human being who endured hardship and will heal in time if I am honest with myself and take the wisdom of God and others to heart. It has been a process, a difficult one, easily one of the most difficult I have ever had to endure. But the healing is happening, and I am better now that I was.
A month or so ago, I heard about the Japanese art of kintsukuroi, which essentially means “golden mend”. The Japanese would take broken pottery and repair it with a resin of gold or sometimes silver, creating simple yet beautiful pieces that could still be used. The metaphor writes itself: something made by hand, broken and imperfect, repaired and made unique, useful, and beautiful once again.
I, like those Japanese cups, will always show the cracks and scars that made me, and those make me who I am. The cracks and scars always tell a story, and when you try to hide those imperfections, you hide a story that could create meaning for yourself and others. Eventually, you learn to wear those cracks like a badge of honor because they show you are a survivor. The survivors reshape the world, and those cracks serve as a roadmap of wisdom for others who follow.
Psychologist Jordan Peterson once said, “Always place your becoming above your current being,” and I think this is a simple yet beautiful idea. You must always be in the process of “becoming”, becoming more today than you were the day before. Every day you’re starting again, and when you realize that, you realize you can’t let your days be wasted with regret and fear, not anymore.
Get up. Go out. Start again. Learn. Grow. Repeat.