Toxic. Such a suitable word for so many aspects of my life in America right now. From the national political climate to race relations, from my work environment to my on-the-brink marriage…there is a lot of toxicity in my space right now and I want nothing more than to run away before it all comes crashing down.

But I know that I can’t.

You see, my life is like the stream in the photo above. It looks so beautiful and pastoral but, in reality, the waters are treacherous. The stream above is comprised of water that needs to be treated because of coal mining activity that ceased just about 100 years ago. The water is run through limestone wells, which elevates the pH of the water and makes it super alkaline. Nothing lives in this creek until you get further downstream and the pH has settled back to normal.

I think it’s common to feel like your life is the only one screwed up. I feel like that all the time. I don’t know why it’s so unacceptable to admit difficulty or struggles, or why so many peoole are adverse to experiencing discord in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, too much tension has its own problems but we learn and grow the most as a result of being uncomfortable.

Having to work, really dig deeply, having to push yourself past your comfort zone, holding on and knowing that the pain or sadness or helplessness–or even toxicity– is temporary and that things will still emerge beautiful and vibrant once you get further downstream…that is the beauty of toxicity.

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