E is for Encouragement and Endurance

Life and Happiness

Last night I was watching Shahs of Sunset (don’t judge! See my previous post!) Reza (who is a gay male) had just called off his wedding, but took his friends on his wedding trip to Thailand anyway. Throughout the trip he thought about his fiance as he experienced the things they had intended to experience together. He endured this trip because it was paid for, but when it came to the wedding dinner, with menus adorned with both their names, he finally broke. His friends surrounded him and encouraged him to move on.

This touched my heart because I had been in a similar situation with my previous relationship. Like Reza, I had friends who encouraged me throughout the entire endurance race that was the next five years of my life (until I met John). My friend Susan, who is a horse lover, pointed out the difference in a regular trail ride with a horse and an endurance ride. A trail ride is a leisurely stroll on your horse over any kind of terrain. You can take your time and enjoy the nature surrounding you. But an endurance ride is a race over fallen trees, streams, creeks and other obstacles. You do not leisurely canter through this race – you run through it to get to the end in the fastest time. You don’t really notice your surroundings – you’re just trying to finish. At the end, both you and the horse are exhausted.

Endurance is not just the ability to

For me, I wanted desperately to get through those few years following this disheartening relationship that I just ENDURED. I raced through my life and didn’t enjoy much of it. I put my head down and ran. (Reza was going the same thing last night in Thailand…he just kept going through the emotions…another good “E” word.) But, along the way, I had some great friends encouraging me to keep going and persevere. They knew when I finally had run my race – I could truly enjoy my life.

Last night, after the show was over and I was finished crying (no matter how much time passes, the hurt remains), I wanted to find some of that encouragement. I wanted to remind myself that the endurance race was over. So I pulled out my scrapbook and looked at wedding photos of me and John. I found our invitation and our church program…and even two notes from friends. At the time (my bridal shower) they were used as encouragement for our nuptials, but even now they serve as encouragement to keep going forward.

roberta message

From my friend Roberta – a little hard to read here, but it’s lovely.

 

I saw items from our honeymoon and even items from the new people in my life – reminders that we are meant to be together and that the past doesn’t matter.

PJ wedding instructions

A note I received from my pastor just moments before walking down the aisle.

 

I won’t say that there aren’t still times of endurance, but for the most part, those days are over. And I take this advice from my pastor – I take a deep, cleansing breath before moving forward. I no longer endure – I thrive. (Perhaps that will be my “T” word?) And by that – I am encouraged.

What about you? Are you in the season of endurance or are you in a season of thriving?

 

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