This weekend I met my college kids in Utah for a little shopping. It was delightful in every way. I got caught up on their love lives, their roommates, their moving plans, their classes, and their finals. I listened as they talked and watched them in awestruck amazement and unabashed adoration. I am completely in love with them.
Several times I had the thought, "I love my life."
Just three years ago, I was having an entirely different experience. My son was leaving on a two-year service mission for our church. He was graduating from high school and my daughter would follow only a year later. I could see the dominoes of loneliness and loss falling inextricably into a dismal future.
It felt like my life was over. I thought that things would never be the same, that something special was ending forever, and I was certain that there was no way that the future, which would consist of considerable time spent apart, could ever be better than our past together. I could only think how life as I knew it was over. I felt like I was losing my job—that my position had been eliminated by some cruel universe HR representative. It felt impossibly sad.
But it turns out, I was wrong about all of it.
Caleb went to Italy. Olivia went to Idaho. Savannah will join them in her own life outside the nest when she goes to school in Utah in the fall.
And you know what? My life has never been better. Their lives have never been better. And our future will only be better than this.
So what changed?
Only my thoughts about all of it.
My children are still away from me more than they are home.
My children will never again live under my roof on a permanent basis.
My children will never need me like they once did.
These circumstances have not changed, but my thoughts about them have.
Now I choose to believe that change and growth is a very good thing—for all of us. Now I choose to believe that the life we are living right now is what is special—it is a gift. And now I choose to believe that the future will only continue to get better and better.
And this makes me feel amazing. It makes me feel lucky that I get a front row seat to watch all this beauty unfold in their lives and in mine.
Once I thought I was losing my job. Turns out I was wrong about that. Now I just think that being in love with my children is the best job in the world, and it's never going away.
If there is a circumstance in your life that is causing you pain and worry and grief and you believe that things will never be the same, or perhaps even that they are never going to get better, I offer this thought:
What if you're wrong about that?
Either way, your thoughts—and only your thoughts—are what make it so.