Sometimes it’s not what you think. You think it will be a giant adventure full of beauty and fun. You will shake the mud off your feet and head out into the wild to climb mountains and walk through deserts and forests. You will meet new friends along the way and find a friend in yourself. Sure, you will struggle. Sure, there will be moments of loneliness and disappointment, times when you are brought face to face with your deepest fears, your darkest self. But at your low-down darkest, you will find the kernel of light down deep inside, where you always knew it was, and you will use it to guide yourself out of the darkness. From each obstacle you will emerge stronger, steadier, more confident, until, at the northernmost point, you will roar with victory. Your roar will scatter the birds from the trees and you will return home believing in the possible. 

That’s how you think it will be, but that’s not how it is. You do venture out into the wild to climb mountains and walk through deserts and forests. But, you don’t thoroughly shake the mud from your feet. You carry the mud of your life with you. That mud attracts more mud, and soon, your feet are very heavy. You meet some new friends and see some beautiful sights, but the mud on your feet keeps you distracted, preoccupied, slow, so that you can’t keep up with your new friends or fully appreciate the beauty surrounding you. When you meet your darkest self on the darkest night, you find that even that kernel of light has become mud-covered and completely hidden from view. Eventually, your feet break under the weight of the mud and you cry out in pain. Your beautiful adventure comes to a painful end. 

But, you do not end. You go home, feeling so broken that you feel you might never be whole again. How could you have been so wrong about something that felt so right? How could you have not realized that you still had so much mud on your feet! You thought you knew better!

You ponder this for months, trying to make sense of it, feeling so dumb. As your feet heal, you get the urge to walk again, to move, to look to the future. As you walk, you realize your feet are still heavy, so you look down. Mud! You see that your feet are still covered in mud. Old mud. Ancient mud. You begin to chisel away at the mud. It’s a slow process, chiseling at ancient, hardened mud, but you are determined. Even if you have to chisel for the rest of your life, you are determined to free yourself from the mud. And, in a moment of deep gratitude, you realize that if you hadn’t broken your feet, you might never have know that this ancient mud was weighing you down. You might never have felt this free. You begin to wonder at how something that felt so wrong could have been so right. You have returned home, believing in the possible.