I rarely have these days. You know those days when the weight of the world seems to bear down on your puny little shoulders. Days when your mind keep straying to the pile labeled “everything that’s wrong”. For whatever reason, I’ve had that kind of day. In a rather pensive mood, I found myself reflecting on loss. Not just the loss of my Dad but every loss that came as a result of his departure. My life turned upside down. I walked away from a secure job that I loved most days. I sold my home, a symbol of my independence and a place of solitude. I left some beautiful people that I was honored to call friends. I left a city that allowed me to grow and kept me fairly safe. My mind just kept replaying that same old tune, “woe is me”.
To compound my somber thoughts, I started thinking about all of the other complicated adjustments I was forced to make. Adjustments like immediately becoming a family manager, a caregiver, unemployed and constantly surrounded by people with no time to relish the joy of being surrounded by silence.
With my energy depleted, I just wanted to crawl under the covers and hide. So, I did. For about 10 minutes, I hid. But…
Once the tears stopped and I came out of hiding, I called an old friend. I was assigned the task of matching every negative thought that crept into my space with a positive one.
That downward tug on my spirit needed to be halted, stopped in its tracks.
My friend reminded me of how strong I had been throughout the course of these changes. Of course, I never acknowledged this strength. I simply referred to it as “managing to keep my head above water”.
Almost as soon as my friend uttered the word, my interior monologue began to reflect on this strength. Did it just kick in at some random point or had it always been there? Was that how people really saw me or was my friend just saying what she thought I needed to hear? Was it just something about Angela or is it something in all of us?
I thought about how easy it would have been to give up, but I didn’t. How easy it would have been to isolate myself from the world or shuck off my responsibility to my family and become completely self- centered? But, I didn’t. How easy it would have been to pine away daily over the things I had lost and allow depression to control me? It was not in me to do that!
One thing I am certain of is that my strength comes from God. Just as He strengthens me, He will strengthen you. He made me strong when I didn’t realize he was doing so. It did not surface overnight. You don’t just wake up one morning and decide you can take on the world. It is a process that continues over time and catches you unaware. Often, God uses people and situations to prove your mettle, to encourage your heart.
Loss wants you to focus on your brokenness. God has given you what you need but loss wants you to forget the innate abilities you possess to push forward.
Your strength doesn’t diminish because you cry or your heart aches. Strength reminds you that you will not break under the pressure of grief. It brings forth a smile when tears are streaming down your face. Strength allows you to encourage another grieving heart. It gives you confidence.
And on those rare days, when your mind strays away from all that is good in your life, strength comes in the form of a kindred spirit and allows you to rest for a while and recharge.