If the word ‘life’ had a picture in the dictionary, it should be a roller coaster. Not just a tame, baby ride but one with loops and turns and twists that elicit blood curdling screams. Can you tell I’ve been on a few? 😂😂😂😂
I love roller coasters. For me there are the ultimate thing to conquer. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after getting on one. I love the feeling of freedom when you are high up in the clouds and arms extended to the heavens. It is exhilarating.
The thing is, even though the fun might be tinged with some fear, you know it’s going to end soon. You can close your eyes and wait for the ride to end. Here is where the similarities end with life. We usually don’t know when the circumstances we find ourselves in are going to end; particularly when it’s relentless.
Sometimes all we can do is be brave, pray, hope and wait. Sometimes, simply refusing to give up is all the bravery you need.
There’s an apt verse in the book of Proverbs that goes, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick ………..” It really does.
Sometimes when I write these posts, I have to be honest, I want to say to myself, “just pull your boot straps on and get on with it”. If I were living in Syria and my home and entire neighbourhood had been decimated by bombs. And members of my family killed and I was homeless with children; keeping hope alive would not be an option. Survival would be priority. And so sometimes, I feel like these posts are for us; the myopic, spoilt ones in the relatively peaceful West who lack perspective on what heart sickness really means.
I think it’s incumbent on us to ensure that we don’t live our lives like there is no hope, for we have so much more. Nonetheless, the fact that the degree of pain suffered by others is greater than ours, doesn’t mean we don’t suffer. For despair is no respecter of class, nationality, social standing, education, job title, Instagram followers .. whatever. Despair has one aim and that is to steal hope.
I’m not a psychologist or counsellor so I’m simply going to say what works for me.
I pray. Lord knows when despair hits, we need divine help. Help may come immediately or it may come at the end of the day, help may come through angels in disguise, help may come through music, help may come through a friend or a stranger. I don’t know how help will be manifested but a little prayer never ever hurts.
I immediately do something that makes me happy and gives me hope. For me, that’s writing. I take out 10-15 minutes to write a blog post or continue some previous piece of writing I’ve started and suddenly I’m seeing my name in lights. Hey, hey, hey. Whatever floats my boat right?
I listen to music that lifts up my soul. Usually that’s Motown, 80s/90s R & B and Gospel. Nostalgia can do a lot to lift up the soul. It has it’s place to play as long as I don’t live in the past.
I surround myself with joyful people and things. Now is not the time to listen to sad love songs and people who believe they are doomed for failure.Practice some self-care people. If there is no one around, I watch a good comedy. Laughter is an amazing medicine or put on my ear phones and listen to some sermons and Ted Talks.
I really understand like Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day. If I cry today, I cry today. I get up tomorrow and start again with prayer and a little more hope than I did yesterday.
For many Christians around the world, Easter is the season of hope. It symbolises victory over darkness and a new beginning.
As I meditated on what hope means to me, I thought of power. The power to overcome my limitations. The power to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. The power to find the strength within. In the absence of hope, there is a sickness of heart.
With hope, the possibilities are endless. We must do all we can to keep hope aflame in our hearts.
It’s been a while since I’ve a mid-week kick post. I woke up this morning with a quote from the Katie Piper session I attended at Stylist Live.
We are all living someone else’s wish list
She talked about her journey as an acid burn survivor and how when she gets low, understandable so, she remembers the patients of her surgeon in India, who don’t have free health care or who after recovery have to go back and live with their attacker, usually a husband or relative. Perspective!
It’s so easy in discontent or low times to forget that there’s always someone worse off who is praying for our circumstance.
Maybe today is a day to be grateful for what we do have.
One adult decision you could ever make is to accept that there is nothing you can do about the past.
You can’t go back and make more time where you have squandered it; you can’t un-date that man that broke your heart; you can’t make debt disappear; you can’t take back what you said and no, you can’t give your children back 🙂
When that time has past, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
However, the future or even tomorrow or the very next minute you take a breath – that’s something you can change. Let’s stop spending an inordinate amount of time regretting not doing this or having that. Tomorrow, if not that next minute, offers a fresh opportunity to start from where you are and leave the past in the past. By all means, learn from the past but for heaven’s sake, leave it there.
And then you are left with another adult decision – to accept that only you can change what you don’t like.
Encountering judgemental and insensitive people is the bane of social media. I really don’t care your religious or personal beliefs but when someone dies, you keep quiet as a mark of respect. It is called social decorum.
The irony that THE Mr Funny Man, Robin Williams, was suffering from depression can’t be lost on anyone who has heard the news. You think how? But he was so funny. He made us all laugh. I watched his films and felt better after. That was the magic of Robin Williams – the actor. For very few of us were privy to the life of Robin Williams – the man. So I truly wonder on what basis we choose to pass judgement on his committing suicide.
It is an inimitable tragedy when someone is so overwhelmed and shrouded in despair that the only option they see available to them is taking their own life. It must be the lowest and dimmest point of such a person’s life. We can be shocked, distraught, angered, upset, dumbfounded but judgemental? I don’t think so. If such news doesn’t elicit compassion within you then I am speechless.
Depression is not as distant a reality as many would like to think. Something that happens to ‘certain’ people. It is a clear and present danger in the daily reality of many of our friends and family. I too, remember when after having my first child, the pressures of being the ‘perfect’ mother who instinctively knew what to do began to cave in around me. I remember the moment clearly. I hadn’t eaten that morning. I had not had my bath. Having decided to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, I had an interrupted night’s sleep as I had had the night before. My mother and I were giving my son a bath earlier and she made a suggestion which I interpreted as criticism. My husband was at work and I felt alone. As I placed another set of soiled baby clothes in the washing machine, I felt a cloud of darkness begin to seduce me. It was not a literal cloud, more like an invitation to dance with a masked dancer whose true nature would only be revealed once caught in his clutches. I am grateful that I had the clarity of mind to say no thank you to that dance. And I know without a shadow of doubt, if I had entertained that sinister dancer, I would be telling a different story today. Post-natal depression is simply what I would have been told. I was able to derive strength from my faith that day and escaped the clutches of depression but not many are so lucky.
I Corinthians 10:12-13
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but Godisfaithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bearit.
My faith was my way of escape. It is a faith that I wish for all but such is life; not all will believe it. However, I also strongly believe that we can all offer one another a way of escape from the burdening issues we may face and make it easier to bear burdens. I’ve blogged about this before in Too Busy to Care. And I think it requires mentioning again. Let’s be attentive to one another, particularly people you know who are suffering from depression or going through a tough time. Let’s just care a bit more and not forget that it could have been you in their position. You never know, you might save a life!
The Nigerian National Anthem came to my mind this morning and I can’t help thinking how apt the lyrics are at a time like this. I’m hoping and praying that the words will go beyond the flutter in my heart and spur me on to be a part of the solution – how ever little. I’m eager for us to move from creating awareness to sustainable action. I’m asking myself how but of this I am certain; the solution will rise from the questions. It has to.
Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fathers’ land
With love and strength and faith
The labor of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and
Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice