I wish I could definitively say that I know exactly what to do when times get tough, but that would be a lie. However, I have learned a great deal in my life about how to handle situations that seem, well, insurmountable. Take living through the death of my infant nephew. He was much anticipated and loved. On Easter morning 2012 his mamma noticed he had stopped moving. A day later found her delivering him still born. His death set my entire family on a collision course with ourselves, each of us suffering in our own silent but deadly way. I had lived through horrendous childhood abuse and many years of therapy but little Jimmy’s death took the wind out of my sails and I became morose and climbed into a bottle of pills to escape. My brother climbed into a different type of bottle and his wife, well she shut down her emotions as much as she could, internalizing all the negative feelings she had towards herself because she had not given little Jimmy life. It has been not quite four years since Jimmy’s death, yet my family still reels. We have a one- year old living and breathing here with us that is much loved and adored, yet we have allowed the shadow of little Jimmy’s death continue to affect us. Now finally, thankfully, we have begun the long climb out of our respective hells. I have gotten off of the pills, Mike has sobered up and Angie is beginning to act like a mommy to her little success story Michael Junior.
Where did we draw the strength to recover from such a horrendous blow? One way is to look into the eyes of our little miracle Michael J. (that’s what I call him). He is so precious and he breathes life into a room by just being in it. He plays and tries really hard to please the three adults in his life. He’s walking now and beginning to learn English and sign language. He doesn’t have any deafness, but his mother knows sign language fluently and is teaching it to him. It is great fun and very rewarding to spend time in his presence. He is the ray of sunlight we received just when it was growing so dark we were all three getting lost in our own worlds.
We also found a great deal of comfort and strength in God. I know, some people who may be reading this will moan and say, “Not the God thing again!”. Give me a chance to explain. I am not a super-religious person or a Bible-thumping nut. I am an ordinary human who has been faced all her life with seemingly insurmountable odds and horrendous circumstances. The only thing that has remained constant throughout all of my trials has been the persistence of a loving, caring and never changing Father God. I have changed in my affections and in my caring for others but He has never, ever, ever and I repeat ever left me alone in my suffering. Sometimes I perceived He was silent but really He was standing back giving me breathing room so I could figure out I can’t do it on my own. He won’t force himself on anyone at any time. He sets out his promises and asks only that we choose His way, his path if you will. I know that sounds super-religious but it’s not. We place our trusts in things every day that don’t hold nearly the promise of the kind and gracious God I have come to love. At least God promises a bright future regardless of my short comings or world events. Can your job or lover promise you that? Can anything on earth compete with that when times get hard? No. I have learned that through God I can find hope and strength. Hope that the hard times will end, and they always do. Strength that I have what it takes to get through the hard times.
I’m not a philosopher or a theologian, I’m just a plain Jane offering up words of wisdom of what she has learned through the school of hard knocks. If you want to achieve peace in your life you must have something to lean on, someone or something that is greater than yourself to instill hope and strength. Without it we are like reeds blowing in the wind unable to control any part of our destinies.
So, from experience I can definitively say, hang on, things WILL get better.
“At the end of the day, all you need is hope and strength. Hope that it will get better, and strength to hold on until it does.” Author unknown.