“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
It is the best of times, and in some ways, it is the worst of times.
As I begin to ponder what has occurred during the calendar year of 2019, this Dickens quote from A Tale of Two Cities springs forward. It has never felt truer or more integrated for me. What I find so astounding about these two seeming opposites is that they are perfectly co-existing within my heart. I don’t even feel them as opposites. It feels like a dance that is happening in my conceptual mind, a way to attempt to categorize the radical nature of many of the things that have happened throughout this year.
For someone who spent decades doing everything I could to avoid discomfort, conflict, and loss this year has included heaping helpings of all three. And the miraculous thing is that I have done little to avoid them. In fact, I moved closer and leaned courageously right into them. I have dealt mightily and intimately with them. I have stayed and stayed with the pain and discomfort until an alchemy not of my own making happened.
What had at one time been the worst became the best. And what previously was the best turned into the worst. And in a relentless internal allowing worst and best has blurred until it has become a sphere of belonging that is now transcendent of labels, resistance, or even preference.
The tale of two Taylor’s is rapidly becoming the Taylor atone.
The worst things that have ever happened to me have brought about the greatest gifts.
Many of the things that I thought were the best ended up being the most challenging and the least fulfilling.
My greatest growth has been as a result of the way I have met the worst of times with the best of me.
Active alcoholism, the death of a spouse and countless friends and family, cancer, heart disease; many of the things we humans tend to shrink from have taught me to stand up and claim my way. None of those things have left me less. In fact, the subsequent challenge, battle, surrender, and transcendence have given me a stability and strength that only could be described as the best of the worst.
And so, as I begin to bid 2019 adieu I do so with now-dry eyes and even more open heart. There has been hurt for sure. There have been scenarios that I never dreamed would happen. There has been pain and loss, and there has been clarity and victory.
There is more of me with which to meet whatever occurs in the coming year.
And so, the best of times and the worst of times are simply the dynamic times in which I dwell. I have choice where there was never choice. There is openness there was mostly closure. There are boundaries where there used to be blame.
There is gratitude. So much gratitude. Expounding gratitude.
And gratitude for and with whatever is makes all times the best of times.