“We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh No, we’ve got to go through it.”
These lines from a famous children’s book are ingrained in the minds of parents everywhere. It’s a catchy story that until recently, to me, was just that.
Now, though, I’ve realised how relatable it is to everyday life. Of course, we’re not actually heading out on a bear hunt (I hope), but we’re venturing into the world, and with that comes times when it feels like we’re wading through mud or entering a big dark cave.
We face situations that take us off the path we’d envisioned and away from the safety of what we expected. We encounter challenges that we cannot navigate around or avoid.
It’s easy to tell ourselves, “We’re not scared,” while trying to ignore the fear, hurt, and distress we’re living with. But, as the author points out, whatever we face, we have to “go through it.”
We all have days when we want to hide under the covers of our beds and never go “on a bear hunt” again, but we need to find ways to leave our source of comfort and, as Waylon advises, “do it anyway.”
During times of uncertainty or change, it can be hard to see what lies ahead. There may be no obvious action that we can take; we simply have to get up each day, take a deep breath, and put one foot in front of the other.
Years ago, when I separated from my then-husband, I was presented with situations and challenges that were new to me. At times, I felt emotionally exhausted, not knowing what would come next. A recently divorced friend told me that she’d found the process to be like running on a racetrack. At first, there were lots of small hurdles to jump; then, gradually, they were spaced further apart. Just when there were no more in sight, around a corner would be another, bigger one.
I could relate. Soon though, I realised that I didn’t have the energy to keep leaping over hurdle after hurdle, and I stopped running.
Instead of envisioning a racetrack, I pictured myself barefoot at the water’s edge on a golden sandy beach, ripples swirling around my toes. I remembered how as a child, I’d loved to stand in the sea and jump with the waves, allowing the force to gently move me with the tide. At times, a wave would crash against my body with the strength to knock me off balance. When I grew up, I found peace in standing still, letting the wave break and the current wash over me.
Just like the waves, difficult periods in our lives come and go. We have to go through them, but we can choose when to jump, and when to relax into the feeling of the water flowing around us.