Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting Knocked Off Course

Today I am thinking of the times when we get knocked off course; I mean, really hit hard and we can't seem to find our way onto the path again. It could happen due to the loss of a job, a serious illness, after a mate cheats on you. All of a sudden - BOOM - it happens.  Or perhaps you are like many people and you feel like you've been wandering in the desert for several years and you're not sure how to get out of it.

None of us particularly enjoy these times, which can be characterized by depression, loss of appetite, increase in appetite, anxiety, lack of interest in things we once enjoyed, the loss of important people in our lives. Songs or books that used to help don't seem to help anymore.

Our initial response to such times is often to find a way out of it. We try friends, spiritual activities, talk to a therapist or pastor (which can sometimes be very helpful).  But what if rather than getting over our pain as quickly as possible, we are meant to feel our pain and walk through the desert rather than take a detour.  We live in a culture where happiness is sought after more than almost anything. And it stands that sadness or darkness is frowned upon.  Often navigating these dark periods with a good friend or good therapist is a good idea, especially if one is particularly depressed.  But even then the goal should not necessarily be to take the depression away, but to understand it.

Dark times may be needed in our lives to teach us important lessons, as hard as they are. Sure, it would be nice to know where we were going to end up, but that defeats the purpose of the journey. During this time you may have to take time off work, or friends, or family members. They may not understand, but this is a growth-time for you.  Be selfish.

The only encouragement I can give to you is that you will survive.

You may look almost unrecognizable when you come through the other side, but you will be more fully yourself.