When the going gets tough . . .

Posted on October 20, 2009

I have a friend who is going through a personal health crisis. That is always tough. Somehow, it is more than frightening to consider our lives and think of it interrupted by necessary treatment. It is also frightening to consider our own mortality and such events always bring us to thinking about that. More often than not, that is not the result, but I suppose it does no good to remind someone of that when they are facing uncertainty.

What do you say to someone in such circumstances? How can you help when their future is uncertain? Well, I think that the best anyone can do is to just offer to be there. Offer to listen when they are afraid and need to talk – anytime of the day or night. Maybe you cannot literally ‘hold their hand’, but it is not so hard to listen and do it in a figurative sense.

I do not think that telling them to ‘buck up’ and think of those who have it worse is any consolation. I do not think exhorting them to ‘not think about it’ or ‘keep busy’ is really going to work, or make them feel much better. After all, it is their life and their health, their ability to engage in all the activities of daily life and their continued existence of which we are speaking. Those are not trivial things.

I think – I hope my friend has some connection with God or something that is recognized as a higher power than just fate and chance. I always find that helpful when I am experiencing a crisis. Somehow, I just feel safe knowing that everything that happens has a purpose and that whatever befalls me is just part of what will ultimately make me the woman I am going to be. I do not think we ever pass through any dark places in life without their being light at the end. If we muster up the best that is in us (and I know he has that ability), we usually come out better, tempered by the fire. It may not be a pleasant experience, but that is c’est la vie, isn’t it?

It does not do much good to wonder why something bad happens to us, either. Although that invariably is one of our first reactions, it is not a place to linger. Bad things do happen to good people every day. It is not some ‘punishment’ for something we did, it’s just nature. None of us has any guarantee in life that we will escape its hardships or pain. Remembering that always helps put into perspective whatever trial I must face.

I think I want to tell my friend that I’m always there to listen. I will listen to you rant, roar, moan and groan – but I will not let you wallow in it. That is not the place for such a one as you. You are going to get through that stage and do what you must. You are going to face that and every step you take on this journey they same way you have faced what brought you along until now, with courage, with dignity and with serenity – because I know you have all that in you. You are not going to quit or give up on what you must do. You will not be alone, you see. You have family, friends and acquaintances who will be right there with you and keeping you strong.

You are going to take one day at a time, one hour at a time if you have to. Sometimes, that is all any of us can do, to do what we must.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from my Pa. He had this little quip – author unknown that he always used:

“Each week has three days about which we should feel no worry, anxiety, distrust, or apprehension.

The first day is yesterday. Its faults, mistakes, blunders, pains and aches are now gone. Not a word can be changed, nor a single act undone. Yesterday is forever beyond our control.

The second day is tomorrow. It holds forth the promise of great things, also the possibility of burdens and adversities. Its sun will rise in great splendor or in deepest clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, it is yet unborn and beyond our immediate control.

The third day is today. The battles of one day can be won, but if we add the burdens or yesterday and the fears of tomorrow, we will likely stumble and fall. It is not the experiences of today that drive men mad, but rather the bitterness and remorse of yesterday coupled with the fears and anxieties of tomorrow. “

I’m not a fortune teller. I cannot tell your future. Part of me wants to wish that you did not have to walk this path, but that is cheating you of a part of your life. If there is anything I have learned about life, my friend, it is that we cannot escape or avoid things, we just have to make up our mind to muddle through somehow. How we do that is what makes us individuals, what gives us the opportunity for growth.

So, the very best I can do for you as a friend is to promise to listen to you, to acknowledge your feelings, to help you get past, through, over or around whatever trials you must face and to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. So, here is an Old Irish Blessing for you. In the words of the late John O’Donohue, ” A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal and strengthen. It is a gracious invocation where the human heart pleads with the divine heart. When a blessing is invoked, a window opens in eternal time. “

Last edited by katie on October 20, 2009, 5:47 pm

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2 responses to When the going gets tough . . .

  1. Yer Pop was a wise and wonderful man and cleary passed it down to you.

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