There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness,but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love. ~ Washington Irving
No matter who you are, what your background, or where you’re located, at some point you’re going to face some dark moments. I’ve been there … in fact, I’m there again. This is my short-list of essentials; my fuel to love myself and others through it. Perhaps, a couple of these will resonate with you.
1. God Does Give You More Than You Can Handle – Yes, you read that right! I believe He gives you MORE than you can handle. We’re not meant to weather life’s darkest moments alone. If only given what YOU can handle, what need would you have for others or God himself? We need relationships and we need to carry each other’s burdens from time to time. It keeps us from thinking we’re enough all on our own. It helps us keep things in perspective.
2. Exude Kindness – The best way I’ve found to counter the seeds of anger, bitterness and resentment is to exude kindness. It can be as simple as saying “how are you?” to the cashier, saying “please” and “thank you” to your family, paying a compliment to a perfect stranger. When you make every effort to exude kindness, your problems seem a little lighter, the darkness a little less consuming. It creates what I like to call a BOOMERANG BLESSING — what you give really does come back to you.
3. This Too Shall Pass – As cliché as it may sound, it’s true. An older, wiser friend put it more eloquently to me years back. During some rough “parenting” moments, she encouraged me to remember that the book of my child’s life was much larger than the chapter I was in. While I wanted to shout “well, how long is the chapter!” — she was right. That chapter did come to pass and it helped me understand how much HOPE MATTERS, especially in life’s darkest moments.
4. By My Hands Not Yours – This is perhaps one of the toughest. I prefer working through things and maintaining a sense of control. I had a plan for my mother to live out her remaining time inside our home. My 82-year old father was beyond burn-out and my “Plan A” was going to save them both, so I thought. Then came Mom’s 1st hip fracture, my shoulder surgery, her 2nd hip fracture and her slide into late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She now requires 24/7 care and two-person assist for much of her needs, in and out of a wheelchair. When that call came at 2:37 a.m. for her 2nd surgery, as if a whisper in my mind, came: ” By my hands not yours.” Plan B is in place, and oddly, my mother has more peace than we’ve seen in her in months. She is well cared for, she interacts despite the lost words, and there are more “hands” to care for her than we could have provided.
Are you open to letting go of YOUR plan?
5. Huge Outcomes are Possible Everyday – Whether you’re facing relentless battles, total loss of control, or imminent death, the possibility of huge outcomes still remains. If you’re only focused on what you want, chances are you’ll miss out. I can’t erase pain or disease. But I can celebrate despite them. When my mother participates in an “assisted hug”, there is reason to celebrate. When a family gathers to love one another through life’s darkest moments, there is reason to celebrate. Then, HOPE is magnified regardless of our circumstances.
I’d love to hear about your essentials for getting through life’s darkest moments: the boomerang blessings, the next chapter, that Plan B, the huge outcomes … share them, please!