I took a walk yesterday morning like I normally do. I wanted one last stroll in the snow before it melted. It looked so beautiful, so perfect, so peaceful. I did not think I would have any trouble, but I could not see what certain weather conditions did to that snow overnight. I was not expecting the battle with the icy snow that was about to happen.
I slipped. A lot. Some of the times I could catch myself. Other times I made it about half way down before I could get back up. Then there were the times I just wiped out completely.
I walk around a section of my land four times. It was on the first time around within the first few feet I noticed I had very little traction. My feet were sliding every which way. About forty feet into the walk was when I first fell. Not a graceful one either. My legs went up, my whole body was in the air, and I hit the ground…hard.
So, at this point logic should kick in. I should turn around and go back home and not walk. I should surrender to the conditions and accept a change in plans. It is too dangerous. It is too unpredictable. It is too much of a risk.
I must lack logic.
I mean there was a faint whisper that spoke those things in me. It was not like it did not at all cross my mind. But it was barely audible. Or maybe it was screaming and I just chose to not listen. I just chose to ignore common sense. Knowing my stubbornness, the latter is more likely.
But I was on a mission. I was determined to walk that land, to take in all the beauty, to get in my quiet time with God in all that He created, to feel the air in my lungs, to not have my day be overthrown. I was committed with that first step on my land that morning to this walk. My loyalty belonged to it.
I kept walking. I kept slipping. I kept catching myself. But I could see grass up ahead so I knew soon I would be in the clear. If I could just make it a little farther to that safe zone, I would be okay. And I did. For about about half of that section of land I walk I could breathe. I did not have to worry. I had nothing to fear. It was just like all the mornings before; a walk I have taken so many times I could do it with my eyes closed.
Then there came another rough patch to walk. It was deep and uphill. With my legs already sore from the fall, it was a bit painful to trudge through. And for some reason that part of the trail seemed twice as long as normal. I refused to look up to see how much I still had left. I kept my eyes to the ground focusing on each step, beginning to wonder if I go home or take another lap around.
Now at this point logic should have REALLY kicked in. Here I was walking through another treacherous part of the path that I knew was only leading me to the even more dangerous section where there was a strong chance I was going to slip and fall again. I was going to be VOLUNTARILY walking from bad to worse. I was going to CHOOSE to face pain and struggle again. I was going to WILLINGLY put my safety on the line.
But like I said, I was committed. I needed to see this through to the end. Nothing else mattered.
So, I chose to walk around the second time.
I began by following my footprints, putting my feet in the same spots of land they touched the first time around. I did this until I reached where I noticed I began to slip. At that point, I created a new path, trusting the untouched parts would be more safe, having faith in what I could not see to not let me fall. I successfully made it past my point of near doom. I let out a sigh of relief. Four feet later…boom. I was back on the ground. A tad more graceful than the first time but no less painful.
I got back up. Because that is all I know to do. I gave myself no time on the ground. I allowed no time for me to pity myself or be angry or rethink my decision. I kept moving forward, still slipping as I stood up and sliding as I took the first few steps. Once again, no logic to that decision it seems.
But like I said, I was committed. My mind, my heart, and my soul were going to walk this land. And because I knew I could. I knew I had the strength in me to not quit. I knew my legs could handle it. I knew my mind was capable of fighting through the doubts. I knew my heart already saw me at the end of it all.
I kept going. I reached the part of the pleasant stroll followed by the strenuous walk and then found myself back at the fork. Decision time. Do I do a third time around and risk it all again or do I call it quits?
I hope you know by now what I chose.
I did it again. Following the footsteps to a certain point, making a new path, getting past my past two falls, letting out a sigh of relief, and then…
I fell a third time. You could say I should have learned my lesson by now but I don’t think the lesson I was being taught is what you think. There was something else I was to learn from this walk, and I was set on discovering what it was.
So, I got up, and I continued on. But this time, with more fear. I walked with more trepidation and timidity. I was wondering if the next step would be it, if this next step I would fall again, if this next step would take me out, if this next step I would overcome. I was clenching and holding my breath and tense until I hit the land of calm. I hated round three because of that. But I refused to let it define me or stop me. I was going to proceed regardless.
By this point I was worn down. The walk was taking me twice as long and there were still so many things I needed to do that morning. My body was sore. My mind was exhausted. I could have let myself stop at three times around. I stood there staring at my house with the fear inside of me making me question my loyalty to this walk, to this time with God. Logic would have said, once again, to go inside.
But like I said, I was committed. This was more than just a walk now. This was a statement. This was a testament to everything I am, have become, and want to be known for.
The fourth time was a challenge to myself. I was going to walk this land one more time and I was determined to not fall. I was not going to do it afraid. I was going to walk with confidence, with security, with faith. I could slip, but my body was not going to hit that ground. I followed the routine. I made it past the first, second, and third fall. And then…
I made it to the grassy land. Yes, I did not fall. I did it. I did exactly what I said I would. Defying logic, defeating fear, overcoming pain, beating the odds.
So, with my mind finally clear, I found myself wondering what the point of all that was. I live my life knowing every pain has a purpose and every experience has a lesson. God had something He needed me to know. But what was it?
What I have learned in this life is that God creates things we can see to understand the things we cannot. Knowing that, the answer to my question became so clear. This walk was representing something. I just lived out the essence of recovery in a very unique way.
Read it all again with that in mind.
That walk has been my journey condensed. Most days I feel like there is no logic to recovery. On the days where I am crying myself to sleep out of pure exhaustion and anxiety and fear, common sense would not be to wake up and choose to do it all again. On the days I am slipping and falling on the treacherous parts of my mind, common sense would not be to choose to keep walking the path. On the days I am battling every second just to find stable, peaceful ground that cannot even be seen most of the time on the horizon, common sense would not be to choose to keep fighting. On the days I am sobbing from the struggle of simply seeing my reflection and then having to exist in this skin, common sense would not be to take another bite of food. The easy choice would be to surrender. The easy choice would be to let myself stay on the ground. The easy choice would be to say no to life.
I have never done anything easy, and I am not going to start now.
I choose to keep going because, just like on my walk, I am committed. I am determined to experience the fullness of life, to live in joy, to be free of all shackles, to one day have a mind I am not scared to explore. I cannot stop now. There is no running inside. I have to face the icy path, but the beauty of that is I trust it. I have full faith in what it holds for me and my future. I know what potential it holds. On that path is my purpose. I have come too far to not chase after that. I know I can do it. I have accumulated enough proof. I refuse to sacrifice the results of the blood, sweat, and tears from the past over seventeen years over the POSSIBILITY I will slip again. I will take the risk. It is worth it.
Imagine if I stopped the first time I relapsed in recovery. I would not be here today. Continuing on when common sense would tell me to give up is one of the reasons I am alive. Common sense sometimes does not make sense. Remember that. Seeing the life I live now, it makes sense that I said yes to life, but common sense showed me something very different. Trust faith over logic. It will be what saves you.
And thankfully, I do not define my journey by the fall. I define it by the rise. Yes, I have fallen A LOT in this journey, but that means I have also risen A LOT. That is something of which to be proud. That is something of which to share. That is something to give me evidence of why on a next fall I will do it all again and again and again. Because with each fall, I come back stronger, wiser, thankful, transformed. No fall experiences the same Jenna twice. It is a new one each time, and I am not going to deprive one Jenna of the lessons and growth because of the past of another. She can learn from the other’s fall but not be limited by it. Every Jenna will be given the same opportunity because one of them one day is going to stumble across that fourth time around. She is going to make it. She is going to claim victory.
It is coming soon. I feel it...