Almost got married. Almost had a happy ending. Almost clinched the deal. Almost had my dreams come true. Almost made it. Almost had a business. Almost had a baby. Almost had that job. Almost won, but does almost even count?
Have you ever looked at your life and felt as though it was a series of events that almost happened? Has your heart ever ached for the times you came close to getting what you want but not close enough to have your prayers answered? Have you ever been tired of trying because it seemed as though your efforts always fell short, it’s as though your hard work went unnoticed, your sweat was in vain and your heart was left completely exposed? Have you ever wept for the things that almost happened for you but didn’t? Like waiting for a bus that won’t come. Like keeping a dream alive that seems to only die. Like loving someone who only wants to leave. Almost, but not really.
If you have never felt this way, keep living. But if you have known the pain of reaching and not attaining, if you have felt the sting of giving something your best shot and not succeed, if you know what it’s like to be (figuratively and literally) a bridesmaid-but-never-the-bride, this is for you.
Nothing shatters the heart quite like almost. It is a painful thing to stare at something you want and know you can’t have it. In fact, many of us would prefer not to come close to having what we want than coming close to it and not having it. Living with “almost” is painful. To come-so-close-yet-so-far is torture to the soul. Such agony robs us of the joys of life. The thoughts of what-could’ve-been are enough to break our spirit. To have a constant reminder of what we almost had is heart-breaking. I know this because I’ve known loss in my life. I have lived to see my hopes dwindle and disappear right on my lap. I have tasted defeat despite giving something all my effort, affection and time. I’ve had doors of opportunity slam right on my face; I have lost people I once loved; and I have had to learn how to live beyond my pain. I know what it’s like to live with fantasies of what could’ve been. A death of a dream, an end of a promise, a loss of a friend. Almost had it all, but didn’t. It’s one thing to cry about what happened and heal, but what do we do with the things that we prayed for that never came to pass? How do we silence the longing for what could’ve been? How do we console the heart after our hopes are dashed?
Disappointment can be crippling. And our tears are often followed by questions, complaints, protests and rage because we cannot understand why Heaven allowed us to get so close and yet so far.
At a time when I was least expecting it, I learnt a valuable lesson about almost making it; I learnt that sometimes our prayers are answered by the shuttering of our dreams. I learnt that sometimes coming close to something you thought you wanted will help you to see that it’s not what you need. I learnt that strength is born out of weakness and you never know how powerful, beautiful and exceptional you are until you learn to live without the things you thought defined you. I learnt that I am capable of withstanding the winds of life, and remain unshaken. I learnt that sometimes the best thing that can ever happen to us is not having what we thought we needed (because wanting something and actually having it is not the same thing). I learnt that my existence doesn’t need to be validated by a position, an award, or by marriage. I learnt about the power of human resilience – that my body continues to serve me even after a hurricane, my heart continues to beat even after it’s been beaten and my mind keeps my dreams alive even when I close my eyes . I learnt that almost is not something to fear; and that being extraordinary means not allowing shame to silence me, not letting guilt contain me and refusing to let failure stop me. I learnt to appreciate my life as it is right now, instead of constantly living in the anticipation and restlessness of what it could be. I realized that coming close to something you thought you wanted can be Heaven’s way of saying, “Wait…not yet…” I learnt to appreciate and value the fact that sometimes disappointment can keep one from making a decision that cannot be reversed or undone. I learnt that sometimes love says “no,” to what you’re not ready for.
It is true that sometimes we stare so long at the door that closed that we miss the one that opened for us. I ask that you re-examine your life and realize that all the “almost moments” in your life aren’t something to regret, but rather, lessons that you can use to better yourself for what lies ahead. And one thing I now value about “almost making it” is that you survive the storm so you can tell the story, make yours worth telling! I almost…and I’m so glad I didn’t.
Be attentive and allow the “almost moments” to redirect you to something wonderful. When you are through holding on to the past, and done comparing your journey to someone else’s and tired of pretending that you have everything figured out, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that your “almost moments” will lead you to amazing places and introduce you to great people and open doors of opportunities that you never knew how to ask (or pray) for. I have learnt that there are no coincidences, there is no formula to happily- ever-after, and “almost” does count because it could be a beginning of something incredible!
The miracle is not how quickly we reach our goals but who we become in the process of achieving those goals, the magic is in what we are busy becoming…