by Wendy Keller
A dear girlfriend chose to visit me while she was in LA this week speaking at a conference. She’s still asleep in my guest room as I write this. She’s just four years younger than my mom, but she has a PhD, was influential in the feminist movement, is world-renowned for her work and has stories about anti-war protests during the Viet Nam era…when she was living in Japan learning that language in pursuit of her dissertation in political science.
Let me just say, this girlfriend is a powerful inspiration in a lot of ways.
No offense to my mom, who has been a housewife since high school, but Wow.
Here’s the catch: when I first met this friend a dozen years ago, she was already two decades plus into a painful marriage; she weighed more than 200 lbs; was quite depressed; and seemed so emotionally battered that I took pity on her.
About five years after I met her, she ditched the bad husband, got a different professorship, dyed her hair and lost the weight. She’s been in a healthy relationship with a dynamic, supportive, loving man now for about 3 years. She’s making ample money because three days after she retired from teaching at the university at age 62, she was hired for her dream job – at four times what she made as a professor.
While the stories of living in Japan during the Viet Nam war are fascinating, here’s what’s really cool: whenever I spend time with her, I realize how very, very long life is. This marvelous woman has had times when she was a skinny, vibrant hippie; a depressed but dutiful wife; and now an astonishingly respected, internationally renowned thought leader. All in one life time.
It reminds me that my own life, which is not where I’d like it to be right now in several ways, is just a phase. There will be a time when I look back on this time and find that I am somewhere else on the long path of my physical existence. Same for you.
Long ago, a sage named Solomon allegedly wrote “To everything there is a time and a season.” The bad times don’t last forever, but neither do the good; the sorrow, pain, fear, depression you’re facing today, well, chances are very high there will be a time in the future that you feel better than you do now.
Some days, it’s enough to realize that nothing stays the same and if you can just hang on, things will probably work out.