Dearest Sweet E,
This life is full of wonder and awe – it contains the best of what we experience – but this life can also come at you hard, stealing joy and hope, if you let it.
Don’t let it, baby.
So many in this world think they’re the only one with a suffering story to tell, but the fact is everyone everywhere has a hard tale to tell; life is fickle and no one escapes the downturns.
The trick, if there is any trick to surviving the hard, is to call upon the good that has come before.
The good will remind you that trials won’t last forever, even if everything in you can’t fathom the depth of that truth in the moment.
As your great-grandmother used to tell me in my hard places, “This too shall pass.”
In the heat of my hard, especially in my inexperienced youth, I rarely believed her words, meant to give me courage and strength, yet the passage of time has proved her wisdom.
Life will bring heated disagreements and misunderstandings between friends and family, unfair advantages for others, needed jobs lost, scary health issues, and death of those closest to you.
There is a myriad of hard possibilities lurking and sometimes the only thing you’ll be able to do is fall to your knees, wounded, in pain, begging for mercy.
I consider this part, the part where you find yourself crying out and broken, the opportunity for good.
Yet, the only way to view anything difficult as an opportunity demands that we focus on what good can come.
How do you do that?
How do you say, “Oh, here’s a pile of crap that Choochie said I’ll have to walk through, but remember the good.”
How can you do that? You find something bigger than you to believe in.
For me, it’s simple, but not easy: I rely on my faith. God. The Big Guy.
[Tweet “God is the good I remember.”]
My first recollection of God as my literal father, was when I was an itty-bitty suffering, bedridden, with the flu. I remember needing a glass of water in the middle of the night, I desperately needed something to drink, yet I couldn’t cry out or even hold my head up. I was fever-parched and weak.
From my bed, I kept my eyes on the Jesus portrait that many homes had in the 60s, until I drifted off to sleep.
In my dream, Jesus himself offered me water and I wondered where he had gotten it because it was the best water I had ever been given. I woke up, renewed enough to be able to ask for a glass and have my thirst quenched.
In that moment, I knew God was real and He has sustained me since.
From the time I sat on the curb in front of my house, as a 7-year-old, speaking to Him as if he were right there next to me (as I know He was), to later childhood that presented grown-up issues, on through an adulthood diagnosis of melanoma and then much later, breast cancer, He has been my remembered good.
For each hard edge of life, I relied on the good of God and I have never once been disappointed. He is all the good I am, or ever will be.
For some moments, it’s not so hard to remember the good; it gets a bit rougher when you think your literal life may be in peril.
That’s the deep down moment of truth.
Is there still good if you die? Is there even a point to remembering the good if your life teeters on the precipice between this life and the next?
Of course there is. For every breath in, there is opportunity for good.
So much of living is bound with uncertainty. Will we make it through? Almost always, yes.
When life comes at you hard, my sweet Sweet E, your steps will be eased when you remember the good.
With love and smooches,