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Through the valley

April 16, 2009

One of the things not often mentioned during an interview for an AmeriCorps program is how difficult certain moments of your year will turn out to be. The moments where you are mentally and physically wrung like a limp t-shirt hung out to dry, and the sun hasn't yet stirred the breeze to lift you back up.

It's harder to spring back from the emotional drains… those nights when the kids break your heart, or a meeting falls through, or something that you've worked so hard to plan doesn't quite pan out. But you get up the next morning and you iron your pants, and you go back to the office and start over. You do that because, really, what other option do you have? Failure isn't it, neither is skulking with your proverbial tail between your legs.

Those valleys, I have discovered, are what makes the sunshine feel even better when it finally spills over the peaks to warm you. Without those shadows, without the bite of disappointment and failure, everything else stays in two dimensions — no details, no particulars. The shadows etch themselves into the edges, rendering a finer textured whole that leaps and moves of its own accord, creating the slip of air that awakens the fabric of your soul.

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