Not done yet: but instead always onwards, upwards and downwards on the journey of life.

This is harder than it sounds. But if there is within you some ache, frustration or desire that will not rest – you are not done yet. Fight for your life, through the pain not against it.

If it hurts, if you cannot numb it with distraction then you are in the graft. The part where your existing roots are weaving with, growing into and assimilating the new, organic life ahead of you.

In a greenhouse, the master gardener painstakingly grafts one plant to another. One stem to a stronger stem, one variety to another. Shaping and bending organic matter to stronger, newer and previously unseen beauty. To do it, there must be wounds, in order to splice new life onto old.

The wounds bring new beauty eventually. Your job is to show up to the bittersweet pain every day for as long as it takes to be made new.

If it’s important, someone – you – will need to bleed for it. Whatever your life looks like. Sometimes your fight to get there will actually look like surrender. Not to futility or hopelessness, but the ache that so often accompanies Hope.

Often, we fight our greatest battles by choosing to relax and embrace the hardest moments until we learn what we need to from them. Nothing is wasted.

Do not fight the pain in your life but don’t magnify it either. Let pain do it’s work in you; a sign of life to come. A message of reminder: you are not done yet.

My dreams, desires and hopes are sometimes so large the corresponding wound feels too deep. But it only lasts a moment, like stepping with bare feet onto a gravel path. I learn to walk, limping, on paths I otherwise would not traverse. I strengthen muscles and stretch new ligaments. Pain accompanies growth.

Do not give up; dear ones. Let your courage rise and fight for your life, found on the gravelly, ascending hill paths. When shaken, find your footing again. Deflated, breathe deep into your lungs and keep walking.

Do not give up, do not fight against the pain; fight with it and through it for your life. Hold onto your graft.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui (be strong, courageous, be steadfast and willing).

In times of grafting, I often to return to texts and books that have helped me accept and journey with pain in healthy ways. They may be helpful to you.

Henri Nouwen: the Inner Voice of Love

Richard Rohr: Falling Upward

Hannah Hurnard: Hind’s Feet On High Places