I woke up this morning feeling hopeful. Lately most of my days have been bad—sad and overwhelming. So I go walking, and with each stride my mind is in turmoil. Afterwards, however, I feel somewhat better for the rest of the day—until dusk anyway.
But yesterday something snapped inside of me. I suddenly let go and realized that I don’t have to dwell on the past. I don’t need to analyze it, fix it, or ponder how it came to be. No more wondering or worrying about what someone else is thinking, saying, or doing. I won’t ruin precious moments with cloudy thoughts of what was or what might have been. I do not intend to spend one more minute of my time or energy on the mess that has invaded my mind for the past few months.
With that realization, this morning I woke up feeling not only hopeful but also thankful. The Bible says “in every thing give thanks” (I Th 5:8). I believe that means more than simply giving thanks for the roof over my head even though my life is falling down around my feet. I believe it means to give thanks that my life is falling down around my feet.
Good can come out of every evil occurrence. We learn what not to do again. We become more aware of the affliction and anguish of others so that we can more easily empathize. We take on new challenges. We grow spiritually. The heart is a muscle, and scars help it grow.
In times of adversity we also find out who our true friends are. They are not the ones who tell us to quit whining and to buck up and take it like a man. We cannot deny our misery or pretend it doesn’t exist. If we do it will never go away. Our true friends are the ones who validate our feelings, who tell us it is all right to grieve and feel sorry for ourselves for a time, who sympathize and console, who make us feel normal, who say that “there but for the grace of God” go they, who let us be totally down and out without shame or condemnation. True friends grant us the right to suffer without shame, and that helps us make it through our pain and move on.
I have true friends like that. So I woke up this morning feeling better. And I offered myself to God as a whole person. I asked Him to provide for me and to use me in His service however He sees fit. If I must be bold, so be it. If He wishes me to be quiet and work behind the scenes (the harder one for me), I’m ready.
After my prayer, I scrambled out of bed to find this horoscope: “Focus all that great energy outward today—help the homeless, volunteer in the community or just see if you can get your best friend to open up a little more. Things are getting better!”
I have weathered a major storm in my life. It isn’t quite over, but I am now riding out the tail-end of it. And at this point in my healing I am ready for the advice in my horoscope. Things are getting better. I’m not up to helping the homeless (I’d be homeless myself if not for the love and kindness of family/friends), and I am not ready to volunteer in the community (things are not yet that much better). But I am available now. My head is not consumed with grief, rage, frustration, sorrow, and humiliation. I can enjoy my family and my friends. I will actually be in the moment. I am back. I am available.
So today when I go walking, I will watch the little squirrels scampering up the oak trees. I will listen to the delightful chattering of the birds. I will feel the cool, refreshing breeze on my face and soak up the warm sunshine on my skin. I will smell the pot of fresh-brewing coffee and hot lemon-filled (I just know they are lemon-filled!) doughnuts wafting through the screened kitchen window of my neighbor’s apartment. And I will taste the sweet victory of having overcome—at least a little bit and at least for today. Because I woke UP this morning! And, as an anonymous quote that I love says, “Life may not be the party that we expected, but while we’re here we might as well dance.” I’m up. I’m dancing. Let the day begin.