We hear so much about things being hard—and how often goals take more effort, time, and money than we expect. And often, life does seem that way. But, is this always true?
I remember thinking, this past fall, that we’d need to start brushing my son William’s teeth. I was dreading it. He only had four teeth, so we’d been getting by with wiping them with wet gauze after his evening bottle. But William hated the gauze wipe so much. Every evening, he struggled and cried while I tried to pull the gauze over his four little teeth as fast as possible. Meanwhile, a popular e-mail thread in my mother’s group detailed other mothers’ attempts to make tooth brushing bearable for their toddlers. All this made me even more apprehensive about the switch to brushing his teeth.
But, finally, buoyed up by discovering I didn’t have to teach William to rinse or spit out toothpaste (toddler toothpaste can be swallowed!), I decided to make the move. I bought a little toddler toothbrush and strawberry-flavored toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine. I lifted William onto his stepstool and told him we were going to brush his teeth.
And, to my surprise, it was easy! He opened his mouth and accepted the toothbrush. He gummed the toothbrush happily (loving that strawberry toothpaste!) and cooperated while I brushed his teeth.
It was a lesson for me. I thought of the times that I’d dreaded something on my “to do” list—and put it off and put if off—only to find, when I finally did it, that it was surprisingly fast. The avoidance had caused much more agony than the action.
It’s important to remember this about life: The universe is much bigger than we can comprehend, and we can’t know everything that will happen. Growth and progress don’t always happen in linear or expected ways. Sometimes things are easier than we expect.
Sometimes we imagine that someone will oppose or reject us—and instead they welcome us with open arms. Sometimes a client signs on immediately or gets excited about an idea right away. Sometimes, instead of inching along, our business grows with leaps and bounds. Or, instead of struggling in relationships like we have before, we meet the right person and everything opens up. Sometimes serendipity seats us on a plane beside the person who will help bring our vision to life.