My wife Michelle and I recently went to see Glennon Melton speak about her new book, Carry On Warrior. Glennon is a blogger from Florida who has a very successful blog called Momastery.com. Her posts are read by tens of thousands of moms like Michelle (and others) around the world. I thought I was attending the event to support Glennon’s new book and to support Michelle (since she loves what Glennon does so much). And even though I was one of only a handful of men in the sea of a few hundred women at this event, I got so much out of it.
First of all, she’s a fantastic writer and speaker – funny, real, open, passionate, heartfelt, and inspiring. I was inspired both personally and professionally by her presence, her talent, her humility, her message and her vulnerability. Second of all, she kept talking about this idea that life is “Brutiful” (both brutal and beautiful at the same time). After hearing her speak and reading her book and some of her blog posts, I started thinking about this concept of “brutiful” quite a bit.
Then the tragedy in Boston happened. I began to watch what was unfolding and feel my own intense range of emotions – the brutiful nature of life was playing itself out in a big way right in front of our eyes. As awful as the bombings, shootings, and manhunt were (and still are), there was (and still is) so much bravery, beauty, connection, and love that has come out of everything that has happened; which is often the case when something horrible like this occurs.
While of course it’s much easier to contemplate this from afar and a completely different experience for those who were (and still are) directly impacted by the violence, I’ve been thinking more about some of the “brutal” and “beautiful” experiences of my own life and realizing that most of them have been (as most of life is) a combination of both.
My parents divorce, our financial challenges, my struggles with depression, my career ending baseball injury, the times I’ve had my heart broken in love, the deaths of my parents and some dear friends, and many other things I’ve experienced have been “brutal” in many ways – painful, sad, scary, and disappointing, among other things. However, at the same time, each of these “brutal” experiences have also been incredibly beautiful on many levels – lots of growth, healing, discovery, and insight. And, in addition to all that I’ve learned and gained personally from these experiences, they have also been (and continue to be) opportunities for me to connect with others and operate in life with a deeper sense of vulnerability, compassion, and openness.
There have also been lots of “beautiful” and wonderful things that have occurred in my life – getting into Stanford, playing pro baseball, marrying Michelle, having Samantha and Rosie, publishing my books, traveling to incredible places, and so much more. And, as great as these things have been – there have also been many “brutal” aspects of each of these same things.
There are times Michelle and I look at each other in the throes of a parenting breakdown and without even saying a word our eyes say to each other, “What were we thinking? This was a terrible idea.”
So if the most “brutal” experiences in life can also be “beautiful” and the most “beautiful” ones can also be “brutal” at times – I think Glennon is right when she says “Life is Brutiful.” And, when we remember this, embrace it, and live with this awareness – it can create a real sense of peace, freedom, and connection with who and what matters most to us!