Most of us have low points in our lives. They are, after all, what provide the contrast by which we gauge the highs. Life makes no guarantees and it certainly is seldom fair. Every person you meet has his or her own struggles.
This quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer strikes the chord:
“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”
2013 has been such a year of contrast for me. Two family members with serious hospitalizations and ongoing issues of recovery, growing realization that this writing may well never garner monetary rewards (the odd heartfelt comment from a reader remains the best ‘pay’ of all), huge financial setback brought on through these sicknesses, seeming inability to put the loss of both my parents and only sibling behind me and my own health struggles have taxed any well of remaining creativity.
There is a natural self protection mechanism that kicks in when loss upon loss pile up.
It is a kind of emotional Teflon one wears ostensibly to protect one’s heart from further damage. Feelings are directed and allowed to flow through the tributary of other’s struggles. Shockingly tragic news events, sad commercials and films, poignant quotes made by others through their own struggles are the stuff of tears and heartache—or release. Maybe it is that one’s own losses are just too big and personal to handle, so we chip away at the deep well of pain through daily tears for others. Maybe it is emotional exhaustion where one’s own challenges lie. Whatever it is, ‘it’ is magnified during this holiday time of corporate joy and celebration.
Where is relief? Music. The songs of the season wash over thirsty ears—a balm to a heart so bruised and battered it seems it may never recover. We who have had a year of loss, pain and struggle belong to a secret underground. We are the ones who smile through eyes that don’t quite play along. We pretend our way forward. Like everyone else, we look to the New Year with hope.
Hope that we will find, by reaching out to offer help to others through, inspiration, education and entertainment , our own sense of peace on earth. We know that personal outlook is choice and paradigm is all powerful yet that knowledge, that truth, does not make it easier. There is guilt in feeling low these days. One must act ones way through to a brighter day. One must reach down to ones toes and find a reservoir of bright outlook and gratitude for all the good things life has brought us. It truly is these blessings that sooth the weary world worn heart.
So at this season of love, giving and joy—to all my fellow members of the silent underground of loss and struggle—I wish for you peace and healing. No guilt. Take time for you, for if you are not well and whole, you cannot hope to regain the reins of your ability to help others and in so doing, find that place of joy that only comes through the positive addition of your own gifts to the world.
All images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net