What is "supposed" to be?
Last week we rescued a litter of kittens from a barn. Several hours after we had them in the house, I looked down at the one I was holding and saw literally dozens of fleas racing around her belly.
Instantly we switched modes from leisurely snuggling kittens to Operation De-Fleaing.
My partner and his son ran to Petco and got flea shampoo and flea spray for the house. I stripped the beds, collected blankets off the couches and chairs, gathered anything any of us might have touched and started the first of about twenty loads of laundry.
Our daughters, 10 and 19, bathed and combed the four kittens; one girl at the sink, one drying and holding the one just bathed.
On day two, when we were still finding fleas on the kittens as well as on our dog and cat, the girls were close to tears. They wanted to rescue these kittens and find homes for them...a wonderful thing! But this was way more than they had bargained for.
At times like this it is easy to feel frustrated and angry that things are going "wrong". We tend to think that things should always be good and easy and smooth, and when they aren't that something is wrong, that this isn't how things are supposed to be. We want things to go back to "normal".
But, what if this is exactly how things are supposed to be? The easy and the difficult, the success and failure, the joyful and the sad. All of it is life. There is no "supposed to be".
When we believe that, we suffer, and have a much harder time navigating challenges. Life becomes much more stressful, and we are less likely to learn and see the good.
In this case, some of the good was that these two girls bonded. They worked hard together for something and accomplished it...the kittens were flea free by the end of the third day and are now all in good homes.
I said all this to the girls and my 10 year old walked away, saying with a laugh, "that's too deep for me". But I hope it planted a seed somewhere in both of them. I am 48 and still learning this. I said it as much for myself as for them. I wish someone had said it to me when I was their age.
How would life be if we could truly just ride the waves? If we could radically surrender to each moment? If we could accept all that life brings us? My goal in this second part of my life is to find out.