“Yes, I understand why things had to happen this way. I understand his reason for causing me pain. But mere understanding does not chase away the hurt. It does not call upon the sun when dark clouds have loomed over me. Let the rain come then if it must come! And let it wash away the dust that hurt my eyes!”
There are times when life suddenly casts a shadow before us: we suffer for sins we did not even commit, we go through situations we certainly do not deserve to be in. In such times, we have so many questions throbbing at the back of our minds, but the biggest of them all is “WHY?”
We want to know the reason why we had to go through such excruciating pain. We want to know why we were not able to do anything to prevent the terrible things that happened. We want to know why God failed us, why He let us down at the time we needed Him most.
Yet even after we are able to answer these questions, the pain remains, life stands still, and we can do nothing but wait ‘til everything’s over, until we can move on again like we used to, when our hearts weren’t shattered yet into the thousand lonely pieces they broke into. We then come into answering our second biggest question, and that is “HOW?”
How do we deal with the awful feeling of brokenness? How do we start to move on? How on earth are we ever going to smile again?
Like many people, I’ve been through dark and painful moments in my life as well, moments I wanted to skip, moments when what I really wanted the most is to have my own time machine so I can either go back where I was happy, or fast forward anywhere in the future where I can find myself again. But no machine like that has ever been invented yet, and the only way to move from the terrible place where I stand is to go through the dark tunnel ahead that will lead me towards the new beginning I’m looking forward to.
If you’re willing to go through that dark tunnel with me, let us begin. Let us try to answer the only question that can lead us into a better place. How indeed can we ever deal with our grief?
1. Accept the challenge and do my best.
We can never move on anywhere unless we acknowledge where we stand at the moment. Acceptance is the shortest route to peace. Acceptance will help you let go of your WHYs so you can start focusing on your HOWs. Accept that things have already happened. Accept that you can do nothing to turn back the hands of time to undo everything that’s already been done. You can blame everyone, you can blame God, you can even blame yourself but that would never change your situation. That would never help you get out of the pit that you’re in, the suffering you’re going through. Find the way to acceptance, and you can begin to find the strength and the will to move on.
2. Rest when I can no longer carry on.
It is a good thing to cry and mourn for your sorrows. It is good to release your tears, your anger, your pent-up emotions. But there are limits to our powers, to our physical and emotional strength as human beings. We need enough time to rest in order to renew our strength so we can have a better cry next time. Have enough sleep. Force yourself to watch television or buy groceries and give yourself a break. Try to forget your troubles even if only for an hour or so. That way, you do not exhaust yourself to the point where you no longer have enough strength to face the challenges of the coming day. Reserve some of your strength until you are able to make it through.
3. Take comfort in God’s greatness, love and strength.
Many people may criticize me for this. But those who knew torment and have survived from it a better person understand the comfort of knowing someone is there listening to you, someone who understands you, all those hurts you’re going through. Someone who doesn’t judge you or condemn you, just someone who loves you and trusts you that if you will only hang in there a minute more, you shall surely make it through.
It may be quite ironic, but I have found my greatest joy in the arms of my God in my darkest hour. I felt him hugging me, comforting me, crying with me. He didn’t just watch me. He didn’t scold me and reprimanded me to get up and be strong and stop being such a fool. He cried with me. He knew my pain and he claimed it as though it were His own.
4. Bear the pain and be patient.
This seems to be the hardest part of all. Pain is pain and suffering is suffering. There is no pill or any kind of painkiller that we can take to prevent us from feeling our hurts. We have to bear it head on and cling to the thought that things will definitely change for the better.
“I have deep sorrow today, and an unclear vision of the future. But nobody ever died of loneliness – only of hopelessness! As long as I have hope, no problem is ever too difficult, no night ever so dark that it can prevent the rising of another day!”
There are times when we are so lost in the dark that no matter how hard we try to find our way, we find not the roads we’re looking for; no matter how desperately we seek, we grasp not the answers, and we continue to grope in the shadow of the night.
But faint not, and fear not the voices that creep in the dark. For in your hour of need, help shall come upon you. In your moments of greatest fear, a flame of hope shall arise and give you peace. The night is short and the voices will soon fade away. Darkness shall falter and surrender to a brand new day.
Take heart; stand firmly and strong, for it will not be long before the awaited dawn.
5. When it is time, stop dwelling on the pain
There are times when the pain finally subsides, and we are given a chance to move on a notch higher. Finally, we have the chance to break free from our pain. The problem however is that many of us choose to cling to our hurts. We let the pain linger longer than they should. Maybe we got so used to it, we don’t know anymore what we’re going to do without it. Maybe we feel mad at ourselves and we choose to punish ourselves for the things we thought we did wrong. Maybe we’re mad at someone else and we want to punish him by punishing ourselves. Whatever it is, it will not help you find your path to living the full life you should be living. Let it go. Let go of your pain and move on.
6. Live from day to day. Or if that is too long, from moment to moment.
There are some wounds that take a longer time to heal than others, and there are some hurts that take a while longer to subside. The important thing is that we stay afloat one day, one moment at a time. Don’t think of how hard the whole process is going to be, you’ll go nuts doing that! Don’t think of all the lonely days ahead of you. They haven’t even arrived yet! Just think of the moment. If you can live and make it for the moment, that is all that is needed to make it through.
7. Claim the strength God gives me to rise above the situation.
There is a strength God gives you in times when your strength is no longer enough. However you may call Him, there is a Higher Power that will see you through. I’ve received it. I’ve felt it coming just in time when I can no longer see how I’m going to carry on. That is why we should never compare our strength with the weight of our problems. We’d probably make a wrong estimate doing that! There is a strength that comes to you to help you overcome whatever you’re going through. Wait for it! It will certainly come and will not delay.
8. Learn everything I can from the process.
When we’re in pain, we seldom realize what lessons we can learn from the process. Though it is quite understandable why we do not give attention to things like that in times of grief, the truth remains that we do learn many things during our darkest hour. It is a time when everything we know and have ever learned are being challenged in an instant. It is a time when we come to realize what it is we value the most in life. It is a time when we get to understand other people better. Let us take advantage of those times when we see things more clearly than we ever saw them before.
9. Protect my joy at all times.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? This thing you can ignore if you want to, but I believe that joy and sorrow can definitely exist at the same time. Yes, we are hurt. Yes, we’re broken. But yes, we know we’re going to make it. And yes, we know we’ll get out of it better persons than we used to be. Somewhere in our hearts, there is a chamber of joy that should remain intact, untouched, forever guiding us in our most troublesome paths.
It is indeed a painful thing to grow, but afterwards, you will be glad that you have undergone the process. You will feel stronger. You will feel like you have just been released from your self-made prison. You will carry with you the joy of God being there for you, comforting you in your darkest hour. You will have greater confidence as you learn more about the true beauty that lies within you. And you will move forward in life with greater strides knowing that the things which have caused you pain could no longer touch you and torment you the way it did before. You will overflow in spirit realizing that you have just risen from your former horizon and moved on to greater heights. And you will look forward to His guiding hand that will carry you farther from one God-destined glory to the next.