The Hard and The Beautiful

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

One thing I now understand to be true.  As you get older, life gets harder.  Meaning, the hard stuff happens. And there is harder stuff to worry about.  And there are hard decisions to make.  The kind of “harder” that makes you look back at moments you thought were hard and laugh in an “oh, if you only knew” sort of way.

I don’t know about you, but some days the hard makes it feel impossible to mobilize my body to move out of the bed. Some days the hard wakes me up at 3:00 a.m. and refuses to back down. Some days the hard makes me feel isolated and alone, shaking my head with a “Wait, is this really…  ??”

Life is full of hard.


It is also filled with beauty.

It is beauty-full.

And that’s another thing I now understand to be true…   those beauty-full moments are precious and you need to allow yourself the gift of a deep-dive into them. You need to remember to look up, so you can see them in the first place.

For a few hours yesterday I was the foster-parent for a dog that had gotten loose in the neighborhood; who came to my back patio door and just sat there, looking inside lovingly, waiting and hoping for some company. We took her in, happily, and gave her some water and lots of hugs.  We played with her and followed her around and made her feel like home until her true home returned to claim her.

Meanwhile, new neighbors moved in across the street so we brought them some food and wine and a welcome to the neighborhood, as they were preparing to have friends over to kick in their new digs and begin to plant some new roots.

I put my spring flowers up on the front porch. Even though I will undoubtedly kill them before the season is over, for now I love to look at them, breathe them in, as I listen to the spring birds chirping their beautiful bird songs and watch the breeze dance through the leaves.

Marlowe likes to wear her rollerskates in the house; she glides through the rooms like some sort of diner carry-out goddess.

There are only TWO weeks of school left here, so the summer frenzy is already creeping in—visions of swimming and sleepovers and sleeping in already dancing in the heads of the young ones, and reminding me of my own summer days—days that seemed to stretch on for an eternity of tanned legs and sticky fingers and dirty feet and lazy play.

I also have four thousand leftover cupcakes from the various celebrations of this past weekend, so if you need a sugar fix, come on over.  

I say all that to say…

… in the midst of the hard there is joy and there is beauty to be found. We find it in different places—in human interaction, nature, food, animals, celebration. In books and in stories and in laughter. But it’s there to be found, and it’s there in the smallest of moments, the most seemingly inconsequential interactions.  And sometimes, the beauty actually comes from sharing the hard.  From reaching out our hands to another person and saying "I'm hurting," and allowing yourself, and them, the gift of receiving their "I'm here." 

Mine your joy where you find it. It’s as precious as gold.  

How can you find the beauty amidst the hard today?

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.