I’m not really a rollercoaster fan. I don’t mind going fast, and it’s not even the peaks that get to me — it’s the valleys. It’s those stomach-turning, feels-like-the-bottom-is-falling-out plunges that keep me from most of these rides. Even though I know it’s safe (usually) and lots of people (even little kids) love these coasters, they’re just not for me. I look like that little kid in the picture – terrified.
And yet, it feels like more often than not, coming to work is like that these days. When we’re going fast or climbing the next peak, it’s exhilarating and exciting. It makes your pulse accelerate and all your senses are on full alert. It’s like flying. And then there’s the plunge…oooooeeeeee. You feel like you’re falling out of your seat, your insides are roiling, and you pray you don’t throw up!
Okay, I’m being a little dramatic. The constant tension is the amazing progress we’re making, the relationships that are growing, and the exciting things that are in front of us; who wouldn’t want to take this ride?! But then I get to my desk with bills to pay and payroll to meet and strategic planning and growing the board and finding a successor and finding new funders and…well, you get the picture. It’s sort of like the tension between the “Gerber Baby” moments of a sleeping child in your arms or a darling toddler saying something so cute… and the middle of the night – for a week – saga of a family with flu passing through. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart…and really, neither is anything worth doing. I do believe that. And I believe in My Safe Harbor more than ever. We ARE making a difference. We ARE moving forward. Just go read some of the amazing stories here on our website. We’ll be adding them regularly and I plan to read them regularly, even though I already know them. They’re good for my soul.
I know the secret to managing all this is to keep some perspective and I’m grateful to have some people around me to help with that. But I also know it’s not the successes that shape us, it’s the suffering, the challenges. It’s getting to the place where you KNOW you can’t do things alone…and then embracing the challenge. There are few things in life richer than getting to the other side of a challenge –not just because it’s over, but because you made it…and you were changed by it. My goodness, has MSH been a place for change; for me, for the staff, for our mothers, for their children, for the community. But it has come by – and will always require – a great cost. I don’t know what you’re struggling with today, but I do know this: When you get to the other side of it, you will have much for which to be thankful.
The Apostle Paul, who lived a life of considerable suffering, put it like this: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). I’m still not a fan of rollercoasters, but I’m riding this one because I believe the peaks will always beat the valleys. I’m hanging on for the ride…and trying not to be terrified!