Have you ever been given a gift that you had to grow into? When I was younger, we all got bicycles on year for Christmas. This was a big deal because before this, we all rode rather ancient Schwinns– awesome bikes, for sure, but heavy and not so exciting for a girl who loved pink and purple and new. My little sister got a hot pink and purple bike that seemed just about perfect for me. I got a a classy pastel pink and gray ten-speed with curled handlebars and hand brakes, and with the seat at its lowest, it was just a bit too big for me. I get it– with growing children, you need to get them gifts that they will grow into, that will last a while.
That bike scared me, though. Because the handles, brakes, and gears were all different, it was intimidating. It made me have to really think again about riding. And the feeling of being on it, with my feet just able to reach the pedals, was of being a little bit in danger all the time– slightly out of control. And indeed, one of the first times I rode it, I just veered mysteriously off into a ditch.
I feel sometimes like I have been given a ten-speed again. Opportunities come my way that are just out my my comfort zone, that I need to really stretch to meet. My emotions go all over the place– gratitude, fear, excitement, anxiety, overwhelm, and then the guilt of feeling negative feelings at all, when clearly opportunities are GOOD!
This is a time of vulnerability (as if there was ever a time of invulnerability!), where the edge seems very near, where capability and motivation are pushed outward to fill this new space. My work now is to grow, to let discomfort be here– the necessary and utterly normal (yet still painful!) discomfort of stretching and growth.
In this time, I renew my sense of trust. I trust that I will be enough, that change and growth will occur, that things will work out, sometimes beyond my wildest imagining, and that all outcomes are workable. These things have never NOT been true for me.
Even though for a little while, I longed for my sister’s small pink and purple bike, I rode my own bike, and despite my falls and my feeling of being out of control, I got the hang of it. And THEN! I was flying down the road on my ten-speed! Some gifts are worth the effort to grow into.