As I drove my daughter to school last week, past the piles and piles of hurricane debris, I noticed a mountain of trash with a discarded sign that stuck out like a sore thumb: “Living Our Best Life.”
The contrast in the message was stark, nestled there between the garbage bags, so I stopped and snapped a picture.
Living Our Best Life.
The past two months here in Southwest Louisiana have seemed like my worst life. I’ve felt like a contestant on "Survivor Lake Charles" dodging twisted metal on the roads, eating whatever I could find, and hanging clothes to line dry to the hum of a generator outside in my underwear.
Though life has now (somewhat) improved with electricity and a little semblance of normalcy, it’s still light-years away from what I would consider my best life – or is it?
What does it mean to live our best life?
I think we would tell ourselves that the best lives are the ones full of fun and extravagant lifestyles, island vacations, new cars, perfect families, and NO TROUBLE – carefree, laissez faire, easy-going – you pick the adjective.
That’s not a best life. That’s an easy life.
In living now my some-odd-40 years, I think I’ve learned a thing or two, and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that our best lives are often proceeded by our worst lives.
A divorce. A sick child. A job loss. A destructive hurricane.
These tough transitions, when combined with self-reflection, optimism, hard work, and openness to new beginnings, often lead to growth, change, deeper connection with others, and a deeper faith. Yeah, trusting God to bring good things out of bad things, while growing and changing in the process.
And it does take work, and perseverance, and patience, and humility, and lots of tears, and finding support; but the outcome is beautiful, despite the mess.
It may not be the easy life, but it certainly can lead to the best.