It has been a few months since I have been able to sit down with any kind of clarity and pen an article. I have been writing for several years and generally, I can always come up with something to share. If I am not writing about God, personal growth or fitness, almost always I can write about nutrition.
However, over the past few months, I have been at a total loss of any kind of creative thought. Instead, I have been walking through loss, grief, sadness, anger, hurt, uncertainty and fear. As personal as that is, I share it with you because it is a part of life and more importantly, these times of despair are a necessary part of life.
In April of 2013, I wrote a note to myself in the note section of my phone that simply said “What do I want my life to look like?” Over the past two years, I have revisited that question several times and never one time sat down to answer it because I didn’t know the answer, until this morning. This morning, I knew the answer.
Since about the age of 28, maybe a little before that, I have been on a journey to “understand” the reasons why I have certain behaviors and why I made the choices I have made. I have searched out my childhood, my beliefs, my choices in men and my separateness in an effort to understand who I am and what purpose my life holds.
After 20 years of doing that I felt I had a pretty good handle on myself and I believed I knew myself very well. Yet, for two years I was unable to answer this very simple question of what I wanted my life to look like. I guess perhaps it was too big of a question.
Difficulties in life, if we can survive them, bring about positive change. The question is whether or not we can survive the difficulties. Over the last few months, I have suffered loss. Loss of love, the death of a loved one and loss of a job I thought would be the beginning of my second career. All the things I believed to be true became questions of uncertainty. The hope I had for my future is now suddenly ambiguous and the belief that I found the man I would grow old with is now also a fading dream. Sadness has been my perpetual state as I ponder my new reality.
Yet, beneath the sadness, beneath the grief, beneath the uncertainty, there remained a glimmer of faith. Faith that in time everything would be okay, and somehow I will be happy again.
I am choosing to write about this very personal experience because I have lost many friends to suicide. Grief, loss, and hopelessness is perhaps the most difficult thing anyone will ever have to go through in life. These emotions walk you right to the edge of the cliff. Before you even know you are at the edge of a 1000 foot drop that could kill you, you are making the decision to live or die, to hope or to believe all hope is lost.
This is the moment life hangs in the balance. I have been there. Not this time, but in 2006. I know what it is like to get to the edge of the cliff and want to jump. I know why people kill themselves – because in that moment everything comes down to a very simple question, “Do I believe God is real?”
In that moment you cannot feel God, the only thing you feel is despair. It becomes a choice. A choice you make not because of feelings but inspite of feelings. A choice to believe that God is real and if you can believe that God is real, then maybe God might be able to help you.
Grief is a very unpleasant and difficult thing to live through. All the faith in the world doesn’t make the process of healing any easier and faith doesn’t make the process of healing happen any faster. It is a process. It is something we all have to go through day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Faith is simply the hope that WHEN this season is over, I will be happy again and I will be stronger because I survived.
I have no idea how my story ends. I am still living it. But today, I was finally able to answer the question as to what I wanted my life to look like and knowing what I want my life to look like gives me a direction for the decisions I will make as I move through my circumstances.
I’d like to leave you with these verses from my very favorite book, the Bible. 1 Peter 5:6-10 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil is as a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour: He who resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, he will make you perfect, sstablish you, strengthen you and settle you.”
May you all know that God is bigger than any problem you face. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven.” Your problem is just a season that will eventually pass and when it does, He will give you joy again.