If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all the experiences I’ve had during the last few years of my life, it’s that there are positives to be drawn from even what seem to be the darkest of situations.
When we’re going through hell, we are consumed by our own troubles, and our minds can focus on little else except surviving the current danger and getting ourselves back into a better place. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a primitive inbuilt reaction and it is designed to motivate us to drive ourselves into a better place, to overcome the hurdles and regain life’s equilibrium. This is the cycle of life, and it happens again and again.
However, it doesn’t do any of us any harm, if once in a while, we take some time to get things into perspective, and look for the positives in life.
I have recently been humbled to learn about the experiences of friends of mine, who, whilst I was going through my (utterly trivial by comparison) woes, were suffering their own, much deeper distress.
Those of us who are lucky enough to be in good health just tend to take it for granted. I know I do. Of course I worry about falling ill, more so since I’ve been a parent. I often fret about what would happen to my children if anything ‘happened’ to me. Thankfully though, I have never been confronted with a situation where I’ve had to deal with this very frightening prospect.
Friends of mine have, and they have shown immeasurable courage when faced with seemingly impossible and terrifying situations. I sat in tears listening to these friends recount their stories. I had to ask them: ‘But how did you cope?’
Their answer: ‘You just do’.
This is so true, we find ourselves thrown into a situation, and we really don’t have time to get scared, or pensive, especially when there are little people who require our love and attention. We go into ‘auto-pilot’ mode. Our amazing ‘fight or flight’ instinct kicks in, and we do whatever we need to do, just to get through.
It doesn’t mean we’re not all heroes though, because it does require inordinate amounts of strength and courage to deal with certain situations, not least (as in the case of my two friends) with the very real prospect of death, and its tragic aftermath.
To my friends who have been through this recently, I salute you. I cannot imagine how you coped, but you did, and you’ve come out of it stronger and better people. Your families remain intact, and no doubt closer as a result of the drama you faced.
Life changing events have a habit of bringing us closer together and strengthening bonds with loved ones. We appreciate the small details of life much more, just because we know we’re lucky to even have a life at all.
As with my friends, the ‘drama’ is now over for me, and I’ve reached a place where I’m able to look back and see the positives which came out of the situation. I appreciate how lucky I am, how lucky I am to have three happy and healthy children, and how lucky we all are just to have each other. I certainly don’t take things for granted the way I used to.
My experience has also taught me to grow a thicker skin, I’m much more reticent now than I was in the past.
Petty squabbles no longer interest me. I avoid confrontation wherever I can. I don’t have the energy for it.
I have realized that my energies are better spent focusing on the good things in life, on the things which bring me joy, and on the things from which I can learn.
Sure, life is never going to be 100% perfect for any of us. There are always going to be certain situations which work out, and others which don’t go quite according to plan. But there are always things to be learned from every situation. Of that I’m sure.
My new motto: Don’t waste time peering into the gloom. Turn to the light, and smile.