The words above are quoted directly from the book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.
The mask. The curbside pick up. Eating outside, with heaters, in January, in the Midwest. Or not eating out at all. We are all so tired. We’re all damn tired. We are afraid. We’ve felt loss in so many ways. And we live in a constant fear of the unknown. And we are even learning to live with uncertainty. And even though we are living it and getting used to it – it isn’t easy lovelies.
On the bad days, we are overwhelmed and question if we are going out too much or not enough, we judge others for doing too much or not enough. On the bad days we want to stay stuck, we want the world to stop and join us wherever we are – in fear or denial or rage. On the bad days, the walls are closing in.
On the better days, we allow ourselves some grace and allow others grace and forgiveness. On the better days we make decisions and find peace in the good enough. On the better days, we feel gratitude for anything and everything. On the better days, we become the light. On the better days? We get up and get through.
I read the book We’re Going on A Bear Hunt, a prophetic yet entertaining children’s book (written by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury and published in 1989,) to my kiddos a gazillion and three times when they were toddlers. These characters have no guns. It appears they are really just going for a nature walk and endure many craptastic circumstances – tall grass, a cold river, mud, a dark forest and so it goes…And I think, maybe, the bear is representative of a challenge…
The chorus sings, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared.
And then the obstacle: Oh-oh! A forest! A big dark forest.
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
We’ve got to go through it!
With every obstacle, they begin by saying “What a beautiful day!”
Each illustration and word depicts the family stumbling and tripping, stumbling and tripping, stumbling and tripping. Or trudging through the mud, squishy squelchy, squishy squelchy, squishy squelchy.
It’s a messy middle, as author, researcher and story teller Brene Brown would say. The messy middle of the journey, the lesson, the bleak season of life that can bring us down and threatens to keep us there. And yet. we’ve GOT TO GO THROUGH IT.
Every day though, every day-is a beautiful day. We may not be able to see it. But maybe, if we choose to know that every day is a beautiful day, regardless of the virus, the hunger, the injustice, the fear, the sadness…if we can remember and choose to know the day is beautiful…. maybe the mud won’t be so thick. Maybe the forest won’t be as dark.
There’s no way of going around or under this pandemic lovelies. Every day, we get to choose. And some days we may choose to stay in the dark forest. We just can’t stay there too long. It’s dark and lonely there. We need light and love. We have to choose. We have to get through it.