Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We are stronger than we think!

Hello everyone. I once read a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that said, “Women are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.” Gosh, I love that! Of course this applies to men too.  I know I keep saying this every week, but the next couple of days are going to be extremely difficult ones….AGAIN!  Last week at this time I was dealing with the aftermath of a storm that did a lot of damage in the area and inconvenienced me for several days when I lost electricity, water, and heat.  The week before at this time I was attending the funeral of my long-time family friend who died suddenly. The week before that……   You get the idea.  Life is sometimes incredibly hard! There is no doubt that we often find ourselves in situations that really test our resolve; situations like this one that makes no sense.  And yet…when we get through them, we realize that we truly are stronger than we ever thought possible.
I’ll be leaving at lunchtime to travel out of town for the wake of my cousin. This is such a difficult situation, and I’m feeling rather “dumb” at the moment, because I just keep asking myself, “What am I going to say to her parents to comfort them? What am I going to say to her 15 year old sister or her brother? How am I going to make sense of this tragedy?”  There are no right answers. There are no explanations. There are no words that I can say to take away their/our pain.  And yet…. Somewhere in my spirit, I have to trust that I will be able to learn from this experience; that I will be able to make sense of it; that somehow, I’ll be a better person because of it; that by the grace of God I will be strong enough to deal with it.  But how?  Right now, I just don’t know.  But I do know, without a doubt, that somewhere down the road….it may be years down the road….but somewhere…someday… good will come out of this.  My life experiences have taught me that, in time, I am always able to find goodness in even the hardest times.
My journey today….this wonderful opportunity I’ve been given to experience a second chance at life….is something good that came out of years of pain and sadness. Three years ago when I was at the lowest point of my life and was ready to just give up, I couldn’t see any reason WHY my life was the way it was. I couldn’t see ANYTHING good in my existence. I didn’t have hope…or motivation…or the will to change things. And yet…..here I am!  Out of those losses….out of those years of pain….out of that life of immobility and sadness….came forth this wonderful (yes, wonderful…even when it is incredibly difficult) new life.  You must believe that whatever circumstances you find yourself in now….whatever difficulties you have overcome….whatever struggles you find yourself in…..there is a reason….and you will one day find goodness.  Some might be just asking, “Why????  How do I change????  Why can’t I…lose weight/give up smoking/drugs/forgive and forget???  How am I going to…….get through the holidays/survive this divorce/deal with this illness/grieve this loss….whatever” Others may just be here to share….to inspire….to help…to celebrate.  
I have been completely blown away these past few days with the way that my story has touched so many people and how it just keeps circling the globe.  I wrote yesterday about the large number of emails I’ve received and the many people that have contacted me in recent days….both with positive words of admiration (thank you!) and with desperate cries for help. It will take days…maybe longer…to respond to all of them….but I will! I will reach each email, each post, each comment…..again trusting that somehow God will give me the words to bring hope, encouragement and inspiration. Again… I don’t have the all the answers. I don’t have the “magic formula” to make it easy. I don’t have the power to do it for you. What I do have, however, is the same thing that strengthens me during the difficulties in my life: faith, a tremendous faith that says.... “Even in the midst of life’s heartache (not only death…but those everyday things that cause us sorrow/worry/anxiety)…even in the midst of despair (I’ll NEVER lose weight…I just CAN’T do it)….even in the midst of temptation (WHY…oh WHY can’t I just say No?)…..in all of this….I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not alone in this life.  You are not alone either! Even if you don’t have a ‘higher power”….or a support system….know that you are not alone on the journey. You have found this group. You have found this website. You have found this blog. Somehow you have heard my story. Trust that it happened for a reason…just like my cousin’s tragic accident.  Out of those years of struggle, came something good. God has blessed me with this miracle for a reason. May I always…and in all ways….use it for good. May I always be grateful for this gift of life, even when it’s hard to understand.
I am so glad to have you walking with me on this journey. I am so glad to share in your stories. I want to hear your successes….your struggles…your temptations. We need each other….wherever we are on the road….whatever our “battle” or “baggage”….whatever our reason for being brought together.  Thank you….for supporting me; for motivating me; for inspiring me; and for giving me a chance to be a part of your life.  Hopefully in the coming days, the posts will become more positive and I’ll be able to give you some practical tips and answer your questions.  Until then….please know that there is always good in each day….sometimes we just have to try REALLY HARD to find even a small ray of sunshine, but IT IS always there.  In spite of what your day may hold today….make it a good one. Life is indeed a very precious gift!