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Sometimes the universe grants me joy in providing me something or someone to care for. I was given one such opportunity two days ago.
This is Chadwick.
He’s our itty bitty bearded dragon baby.
He is the most inquisitive baby I have ever seen and he is so precious while he is at it! My husband and I have wanted a bearded dragon of our very own for awhile now, and so we got Chadwick on 1 June after I pulled the birthday gift card. My birthday is on 16 June, so it’s a bit early, but he is my second best birthday gift.
My actual best birthday gift was given to me last year on 16 June proper. My husband proposed to me on my birthday and I said yes! Because of that choice, we are where we are today and I think we’re both better for it.
This is a special time for me as I look back on my 21st year and what all I have learned and done from last year to this one. It is becoming apparent that I am probably the luckiest human I know. I am living my dream here in Alaska, with the man of my dreams (more on that next post), a beautiful reptile baby, doing what I love. I am a happy human.
If I’m honest, I’ve kicked and screamed my way here. I’m a fighter who fights the wrong things. I’m stubborn and reckless and impatient. I am blessed and grateful beyond measure by and for a patient husband and patient friends and family who refuse to give up on me. I continually seem to be surrounded by those more patient than I am. It’s been a winding path getting here and I have waged many useless wars on myself and on others. And as I have said before, the universe and God have placed things in my path to care for and learn from.
I was talking to a friend of mine about this very thing and she said that we aren’t given anything we can’t handle. It was interesting to hear it from the mouth of a friend, for I had read about it before. It was a good confirmation for me, and we talked about it for a bit. To me, this is proof that I am known and loved by the divine. I have seen enough of it in my life to believe it for myself. If we weren’t loved, trials and lessons would be sent to us to destroy us, not help us grow. I imagine it like being a rock put in a tumbler with a bunch of other rocks and tumbled over and over for weeks. This rock would start off ragged and raw and come out smooth due to contact with other rocks. Without contact with these other “rocks”, hardships, experiences both good and bad, mistakes made, I would not be where I am today.
I see all over Pinterest the phrase “I win or I learn.” It pops up in a lot of the motivational quotes in my feed, and I think it’s a thing I need to learn, think, and write on. I see life in terms of winning and losing most of the time, and that’s not where my head should be at. I have written here before that failure isn’t a permanent defeat, it only is if you give up. The fruit of failure is experience, oftentimes valuable experience. I take my experiences with failure and try to apply them properly, but sometimes one failure can make me afraid to try again. Here’s a story of when I took my experiences a little too far.
I was in Idaho school. I had trust issues and enough baggage to fill an entire apartment complex, and the lesson I had to learn at the time was trust. I was afraid to try again after a series of failed relationships and friendships, leaving me with the sour taste of “people always leave” in my mouth. My friends went about trying to change that way of thinking. I remember talking to one of my friends about predicting the end of a situation before anything had happened with it based entirely off of past experience and my friend shot that down quickly. “Meg,” he said, “You can’t assume everyone is like the people who hurt you. Quit using the precedent set by the past to assume the outcome of the future.”
That struck me. Perhaps I had learned the lesson of distrust a bit too much. My friends continued to prove their trustworthiness, and a year and some later, I found someone whom I can trust for the rest of my life, and I married him. I had been seeking him for years without knowing it, and we found each other again. What I sought was also seeking me, and we found each other when both of us were able to be vulnerable with each other. When we both were ready, we found each other. Overcoming experience can be just as important as gaining it. When I stopped assuming that he was inevitably going to hurt me, things changed.
I learned, and in the process I won. So perhaps I would alter that statement – I win because I learn. It’s rare for raw talent to get me to any kind of finish line, and without any kind of learning, drive, or innovation, I stagnate. I win because I learn to adapt, because I learn to overcome challenges, because I learn to persevere. The list goes on. All of these are wins.
These lessons are placed in my path by a loving God and universe. Chadwick will surely present lessons, just as marriage has. Marriage is a lesson I would not trade for anything. So even though I have come here kicking and screaming, I am here. I am alive. I am a student of the universe and of life. I am thankful for all of you!