My heart goes out to the celebrities of recent who are facing strife of great proportions in their lives. Adultery. Infidelity. Cheating. Hurt. Pain. Anger. Confusion. Betrayal. Sadness. And the list of words to describe the emotions they will experience at some time throughout their ordeal goes on and on and on…
Firstly they are entering a phase of their lives that encompasses a vast array of emotions that fluctuate as rapidly as a banner in gale-force winds. And, yet, at times, will play out more slowly than watching a pot, waiting for the water to boil. To top it all off, they are stumbling their way through the ordeal in the public eye. They are on nearly every news broadcast and talk show, in print ranging from smutty to suave, and talked about around many a water cooler.
And, they have plenty of people speculating what they should or shouldn’t do. Some of those people may be friends who are offering up suggestions they, themselves, might feel are relevant or helpful, while most don’t have a clue. Some are merely speculating, verbalizing, what they feel they would do if in the same situation. Yet here’s the very real problem with that: Firstly, we can never, ever, know what we will do in a given situation until we are faced with it. Never say never, is one of the many mottos I live my life by. Secondly, though many of us have experienced similar situations, we have never been in the exact same situation.
How many times have you said to someone, “I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there before?” I once made that statement to my sister who was experiencing marital stress and divorce from her husband and father of her three young children. “You’ve never been where I am,” she growled at me, “my life is a living hell!”
Indeed, I had never been in the same situation. What I meant was simply that I’d felt enormous frustration and anger and confusion and fear and overwhelm in my life at one time or another; I could empathize. “You’re right, sis,” I replied, “I’ve never been in the exact same place, but I’ve been right next door. Everyone’s hell is different, but everyone has their own living hell.”
I’ve spent the last twenty years studying loss and its effects. More importantly, though, my efforts have been driven by the desire to understand how people heal from devastating loss. How does one weave fear and betrayal and overwhelming sadness into some assemblance of acceptance? Courage. Hope. Faith. Love. Compassion. Fortitude. Desire. Happiness. Piece by piece. Little by little. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day. Week by week…
There is no rhyme nor reason to the timing. There is no right or wrong. In our lives exist a feast of platitudes meant to inspire hope and courage: “Time heals all wounds.” “Everything has a purpose.” “There is a reason for everything.” “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”
For those of us in the throes of despair, when one minute feels like a week, when the hurt in our hearts is a marathon of pain, “time heals all wounds,” can be one of the most exasperating sentences to hear. Time?! How much time?! When?! When is the pain going to end?! At other times the message will bring with it a ray of hope.
What I have learned is this: In your time. Not my time. Not anyone’s time but your own. And we must, at every possible opportunity, remind ourselves that time is relevant. Period. All too often we compare ourselves to the perception we have of others: She seems to have it all together. Why am I such a mess? How we think another person is doing, however, is often merely our perception. And, we must remember, that our feelings and emotions vaccilate. The person who may appear to “have it all together” right now, may be lying on the floor falling to pieces an hour or a day later.
Your time. So much easier than said, and, yet, the cliche is filled with validation from countless individuals who, eventually, have come to cross that expansive threshold that exists between pain and peace. Make it your mission to recognize and honor the moments of clarity and passion and joy, for it is in those moments the healing begins.