I spent last weekend visiting my sister and her family. She showed me around their new house, and we ended at the nursery for their sweet little baby due in March. My nephew bounced in and out of each room, so proud to show off his toys and his big boy bed. My girls ran excitedly behind him, giggling as they all bumped into each other. I opened the closet in the nursery and reality punched me in the gut. My brother-in-law’s packs were there. He was preparing for his deployment in just a few short weeks. Even though this was the main reason for the trip, seeing it all packed up and ready to be shipped out, right there next to his coming baby’s crib just ripped my heart out. I hated that he had to leave. I hated that my sister wouldn’t have him there for delivery, that he wouldn’t meet his child until months after he/she was born. I am so proud of and thankful for him, and yes I also desperately wish it wasn’t so.

These emotions tend to eat me up. I’m a high feeler and over-thinker, so being hit with all of this upon arrival was sure to color how I spent the weekend.

But it didn’t.

We had the best time. It was fun and easy. We went on adventures and took the kids swimming. We tried new restaurants and did normal things, like sit at their house and watch football. Sometimes, in the midst of hard things, sad things, I feel like that’s all I should focus on. I feel the need to make space for people to share their pain or worry. And yes, sometimes that is very needed and necessary.

But sometimes, people don’t want that at all. Sometimes, in the midst of something heavy, it feels so good to revel in all the other things that are good. Because hard and good, scary and beautiful, heavy and joy, get to exist together.

I usually get eaten up by emotions. But more importantly, I usually let the hard emotions be the ones that overwhelm me. That weekend with my family, I let the good ones take over. And it opened up a whole new perspective for me on how to process hard things.

The night we left I watched an Instagram story by an author I follow. It was no coincidence that she spoke of hard things. She encouraged listeners to not assign God’s goodness, provision, and blessing exclusively to seasons of our life that are going the way we want. Yes, we can be thankful. But we must remember that there is blessing and goodness and provision to be found in every season, and the more we can look for the good and let it exist with the hard, the more hope we will find.

~ Ali Hofmeyer