“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” –Haruki Murakami
It was two years ago summer when I received news that turned my world upside down. I have been through a lot of really hard things in my life, but I can honestly say that was the hardest. At the time I truly couldn’t see any way my life could ever be okay again and I felt alone in a way I wouldn’t even know how I could begin to describe. For the first time in my life I could not see a light at the end of the dark tunnel I found myself in.
Sharing what happened isn’t what matters here, but sharing what I learned from it does:
I learned that there is not a point so dark that God can’t help pull you out of it if you turn to him for help.
I learned that when you are unable to see any light ahead in the distance you have to tell yourself to just trust that it’s there and begin putting one foot in front of the other to walk toward it. The more you move forward, the more the light will begin to appear. But don’t allow yourself to stop moving forward.
I learned that looking back doesn’t do you or anyone else any good. You already know what’s back there…you just came from there…so there is no good that will come from looking back and reminding yourself of how horrible it was.
I learned that we all need someone we can turn to for guidance that is trustworthy to hear about our hurts. Perhaps its a parent or a grandparent or a professional counselor – whatever the case, never look at seeking help as something to be ashamed of – its the smartest thing you can do during hard times (note that sometimes it may take going to two or three counselors to find the right one, but when you find one they are worth their weight in gold).
I learned that the more you focus your attention on doing good, the less you feel that overwhelming sense of sadness. Doing good reminds you of why you are here on this earth and it you that while you can’t control the circumstances that caused you hurt, you can control how you spend your time. Sitting around wallowing in pain doesn’t help things feel better, in those moments we are looking back and we’ve already established that does us no good. But actively getting out there and doing for others moves us forward in an expedited way…it gives us our mojo back…it reminds us of who we are as an individual and it allows us to feel of value when we are making a positive difference in the lives of others we are serving.
I learned that time is a healer. Not a fast one, but a consistent one. No matter how hurt we feel, the sun is assuredly going to come up again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. And with each new sunrise comes a little further distance between you and the hurt and the further the distance the more bearable it becomes.
The brunt of that storm of nearly two years ago has in many ways passed, but many days I still wonder if that storm will ever truly be over, or if I’ll even recognize when it is. I don’t know how I’ve managed to survive that storm, but I do know coming out of the storm that I am not the same person who walked in.
The most important thing I learned from that storm is that we are all capable of weathering the worst of storms we face if we are willing to seek help from God and seek out help from those living angels Gods placed in our lives for the very purpose of helping us weather our storms. And I can assure you that if properly faced, getting through the storms will make you into a better, stronger, kinder person. After all, its the effect of a storm coming to an end where its droplets of rain mix with the sun shining through them that creates a beautiful rainbow. So get through your rain so you’ll get to see your rainbow (which is really just a more amazing version of yourself).
Overcome your challenges. Face the storms and move through them the right way. Then take comfort in knowing those storms are making you into a much better version of yourself and bringing some brighter colors and sparkly sunshine into your world.
PS. Tomorrow morning I’ll take my 86 year old father-in-law to have back surgery. The doctor said there’s a 50/50 chance that either he’ll experience some relief right away or it may actually feel worse for a time before it gets better. I’m hoping that if enough prayers go up on his behalf tonight and tomorrow that maybe we can swing those odds a little more to his favor and he’ll get some instant relief from all his pain. I’d love to see him be able to start coming out of this storm he’s been facing. #prayforboyd
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )