|Photo courtesy of Graur Codrin|
The last few months have been sprinkled with times of sadness. Throughout my blog, I’ve spoken about these realities in life many times. It’s not something I like to get stuck dwelling on too much though, as I think I’m a naturally melancholy person. So I work and pray hard on getting back to the positive and focusing on the lovely in life as quickly as possible.
But there have been a few people, very dear to me, who have lost people they love in the last months and I write this post in the hope that I might encourage them in some way.
We can’t deny that life is a lot like a landscape - it has its ups and downs, its hills and curves, its twists and turns. The “ups” in life are made up of favourite people, times, places and all those things that become part of our special memories. The “downs” are made up of all the stuff we’d prefer to forget. One thing is for certain though.... just around the corner, or over the next bump, life’s problems are eventually solved and things get better again! And it’s the ups AND downs that make us who we are. They are all the things that build character – and we can opt to be a better or a bitter character. The choice is ours!
One of the things I loved teaching kids, when I was a Primary School Teacher, was the concept of resilience. It’s also something I love talking to my own kids about at home. It’s an important life strategy that can be better understood as the ability to “bounce back”…the ability to recover quickly from an illness, change or misfortune in life.
Every person’s measure of emotional resilience or their ability to “bounce back” from a negative occurrence is different. Each person gets over a hurdle in their own timing and the last thing they need is to be judged or criticised. Instead, they need love, patience, encouragement and sometimes even a random display of kindness thrown in for good measure. When you know someone is going through a hard time, or is grieving or ill, reach out to them with an act of kindness. Drop some food around, call them, send a hand-written card or an email, or give them a simple hug. It’s good to let them know you care. I believe it’s always better to risk rejection, than to never reach out at all. And I believe you can make it much easier for a person to “bounce back” from a hard time when they don’t feel all alone in the world.
I love the song lyrics from "Annie" the musical: “The sun’ll come out tomorrow”; and am greatly comforted by this quote: “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)
Now that I am getting to the other side of my cancer hurdle, I now know for sure that times of trouble don’t last forever. My physical health is improving each day, my mind and spirit are stronger than ever before and my hair has grown back luscious and curly. (I had to throw that in about my hair because I’m still amazed at how God has given me the curly hair I’ve always dreamt about after going bald from chemotherapy). I know there’s a light at the end of every dark tunnel. I know that every road has a turn in it. And I know that a rainbow appears after every storm.
I remember when I lost my Dad, I was absolutely grief-stricken. I thought I’d never set eyes upon a rainbow again. I felt as though I couldn’t face a day without him on this earth. It was like my heart would be broken forever. But this “storm” of sorrow eventually turned into a “rainbow” of thanksgiving. I started to focus on the wonderful memories of my Dad. I began to thank God for the blessing of having had such an amazing father who loved me and nurtured me, and had always kept me safe. Although he is no longer on this earth, the memory of my Dad and the love I have in my heart for him, helped me to bounce back from my grief. It will never be “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to my Dad or anyone else I love. And when you love someone and lose them, it’s so hard to keep living your life normally. But that’s where resilience kicks in.
As with any misfortune in my life, sickness or grief, suffering or loss, resilience is just putting one foot in front of the other, and step by step, day by day, hope will build perseverance, perseverance will build resilience....and before you know it, you will have “bounced back” to life!