A memo to the hurting:
In reading over some of my past blogs, I was struck with how much pain and darkness filled my life at the time they were written. Even more powerful was the fact that I knew those times weren’t my worst. There had been darker days and that fact actually hit me hard. Looking back, I wonder how I made it through, how I actually survived what was meant to destroy me. One thing is for certain, when the devil decides to rampage through a life, he doesn’t send his B squad to do it. The devastation in my world was horrific, the obliteration of my heart was complete. I was broken and in so many ways, I was responsible for most of it.
That’s the thing that took a while to sink in for me. Life doesn’t care WHY we did the things we did, we are simply judged on the behaviors we display. As much as I hate to admit it, I suppose that’s fair. Once I was able to saturate my soul with that fact, I was finally able to push forward and begin to rebuild myself and my life. I could wallow all I wanted, I could scream to the world that I was a VICTIM, but in the end, it didn’t make one bit of difference. I was responsible for me. No one was going to show up with a new life for me on a silver platter. If I wanted a new world and a better, happy life, I was going to have to create it.
I truly didn’t want to be miserable forever. I wanted laughter back. I missed laughter and joy and the uninhibited moments that true happiness bring. Sadly, I felt very far from those things. I had no clue how I could make it happen, how I could reintroduce the effervescent light of happiness into my world, but I was determined to find a way and figure it out. Of course I had moments of thinking, “how will I do this at my age? A lot of people my age are retiring and I’m starting over?” When I became filled with doubt, I would remember that I had survived worse and would tell myself, “I can survive this too.”
I believe that is the key to winning…realizing you can. Once I believed that I could turn my life into whatever I wanted it to become, and once I committed to working however hard I had to in order to make that happen, things began to slowly change. The crucial component in making that change happen was me. There were plenty of people very happy to remind me of my mistakes and judge me. There will always be people who don’t want you to make it. I removed those people from my consideration. When I encountered those kinds of negative, mean individuals, I politely closed the door of my life to them, and didn’t give them any energy.
It was very hard. In fact, saying it was hard is an understatement. I could have easily given up. Sometimes I was blinded by people being so openly hurtful. Those were very difficult times. It took a lot of prayer and a lot of reminding myself and God that I trusted Him and that He knew best. If doors were closed to me, then I trusted there was a reason. That didn’t take away the sting of rejection and the hurt of strangers judging me, but after I sat in quiet contemplation about it, the pain lessened and I moved forward. It took a lot of self reflection and prayer to get me through those times. As life would have it, sometimes they still happen. It has, though, become somewhat easier for me to handle. Today when a door is closed to me, I say, “Ok, God, so that’s not the platform you’re using for me. Got it.”
There will be incredibly difficult times in our lives and when those times hit, everything changes. There will be loss and suffering, and grief takes time. There are stages of grief and healing and unfortunately, none of it is accomplished quickly. The world we live in is oblivious to our pain and it just keeps on turning in spite of our plight. I was always amazed at how people in a store could just walk past me and not notice that I was in agony, that my heart was breaking and I was seconds away from giving up. I felt like it was written all over me, yet not a single person noticed. That fact was another clue to me that I was going to have to pull myself out of the ruins of my life. If I didn’t, life was going to pass me by and years would pass that I could never get back.
I am still a work in progress. I work every day at becoming my very best self. Having been in the darkness, I want to provide light for those who are still struggling and who are hurting at this moment. Sometimes all we have is the hope that things will improve. I used to cling to that hope with all I had. Some days it was all that got me through—the hope that tomorrow might be better. I’m here to tell you that things do get better, the storm eventually ends and there is sunshine again. As survivors, we need help each other through the difficult and painful times. My storm is beginning to dissipate, but I never want to forget the rain. I never want to lose the memory of the time I felt so desperately hopeless because in remembering, I am compelled to shine light for others currently trapped in that darkness.
I shared in my Facebook Live this morning that on one of my darkest days, I randomly received a text from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. That text made all of the difference to me and was what I needed to hear to keep believing there was hope that things could improve one day. I want to share that text with you because it applies to all of us. Perhaps you need to hear it. If so, I hope it will have the powerful effect on you that it did on me.
“Know that you are loved, no matter how hard the devil tries to convince you otherwise.”