“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~G.K. Chesterton
I often notice bumper stickers on other cars. It’s just one of those quirky things that I like to do. Sometimes the messages are funny. Other times they are a gentle reminder or gracious, uplifting words when I need them most.
So when just the other day I was driving and saw this one, it at first struck me as odd.
“Some days the dragon wins.”
I thought about it for a minute and wondered what it could possibly mean and why someone would want that on his car as a personal slogan and daily reminder.
Right away, something resonated with me.
We all have dragons in our lives. And some days, despite our herculean efforts and our most optimistic attitudes, the dragon gets the best of us.
Maybe the dragon is our fears, or the speed bumps that slow us down, or the rocky path we are maneuvering as best we can. Maybe it’s that relationship which pushes our buttons, tests our patience, leaving us drained and frustrated.
Maybe every day we are met with a new dragon to slay, or maybe we are facing the same damn dragon, day in and day out.
In life we are faced with struggles, hardships and loss. Sometimes it even feels like we are surrounded by an army of dragons all on the attack, firing at us. And in those times we get burned and we break. Later, we heal and get put back together.
In life we can’t control or predict what will happen next. But we can face our dragons with gracious attention and reflection.
In order to recognize the dragon or dragons in your life ask yourself, who are you constantly fighting battles with? Is it a significant other? A long-time friend?
Or is it the battle raging inside of you, with your mind? Is it the negative stories you tell yourself, the fears that keep you up at night—the ones you don’t dare voice aloud.
Here’s the thing. We may dread the idea of having a fire-breathing reptile in our lives — we may even try to ignore or subdue the dragon — but the truth is we all need the dragons.
Dragons help us identify what it is that scares us so that we can face our most debilitating fears.
Dragons put obstacles in our way so we can overcome the challenges and make our souls soar.
Dragons act like a mirror so we can recognize our own flaws and work at being better people each day.
And the dragons that make us feel like we want to give up, or can’t see a better way out? Those are the most important dragons. Because when we defeat them—which we can—the victory is sweeter and more memorable than any loss we ever experienced. It’s because we come out stronger, wiser and we know we won’t ever willingly face that same dragon again.
It’s true. Some days, the dragon gets the best of us. Some days, the dragon wins. But it’s important to realize that not all battles are meant to be won. Some battles are meant to be lost because in that solitary space of defeat or surrender, there’s a lesson waiting for us.
And in that sense, you are always winning. You are learning and growing.
Look around at the dragons you are dealing with right now. Face them head on and give thanks for their existence in your life. Have faith that even if you can’t see why the dragon is here now, you will find the purpose.
And when you recognize the reason why the dragons appeared, fought and pushed you, you will feel a deep sense of gratitude. You will see it all worked out like a beautifully choreographed dance.
For it is in those battles, that who we are intersects with who we will become. It is in those battles that our soul is polished to shine brighter than ever before, reminding us of the diamond it is.
Some days the dragon wins. Just don’t forget, those are the days you are winning too.
Angie Sarhan received her M.F.A in Creative Non-Fiction from Emerson College. She currently teaches college writing. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys traveling, cooking and writing—especially her inspirational, positivity-packed, sometimes humorous, always lighthearted blog. For more inspiration, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Image courtesy of David Marcu.