“things fall apart, the center cannot hold...he has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart...”
This quote is from one of my favourite novels: Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. I’ve been having a few weeks, where it feels like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. I feel like I need to go off and hibernate for a while, in the hope that when I wake up again, everything will be much better. Unfortunately, that’s just a pipe dream, so I’m doing the next best thing- working it through in writing. I know I’m not the only one who is/has had a spell like this and it got me wondering: how does one get through times like this? What helps a person to keep going and not just give up? I’ve written before about this before, but this time I’d like to look at 3 traits that can help us to build resilience.
My number one pick is faith. I am a practising Christian and the number one thing that keeps me going, when things get rough, is my belief in God. If I thought that what I see all around me, is all there is, I would probably have to go and lie down in a darkened room and receive intravenous injections of chocolate and/or vodka! For those who don’t believe in God, this is probably an admission that I believe in fairy tales and need my head checked out. For those of us who do believe, it’s the comfort of knowing that there is a Person who cares for us, has a plan for our lives and wants what is best for us at all times. It’s a reassurance that even though I don’t have all the answers, I am in safe hands and it will all work out in the end.
My number two pick is very closely related to faith and it is hope. That adage that “there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel” is simply talking about hope. A life without hope would be unbearable in my view. How could you go on, if you felt that there was no change in the future? What would you be living for? I guess it must be that very view that leads people to attempt or actually commit suicide. Because let’s face it, if there is no reason to hope, why go on? For anyone who feels hopeless, I say, hold on, tomorrow is another day and it can be better, if you hope and trust and open your heart up to love.
And that leads me neatly onto my last pick- love. Whether it’s the love of God or family and friends is irrelevant. The knowledge that we are loved can go a long way towards increasing our ability to keep going. Human beings aren’t designed to live in isolation. We live our best lives, when we are in relationship with others. Unfortunately, a lot of us have been wounded by other people and it makes us retract and become untrusting as we try to protect ourselves from more hurt. Some of the worst hurts in my life have come from people, but the best healing has also come from people. People who have laughed and cried with me. People who have gone to battle for me. People who have defended me. And people who have called me to order, when I have stepped out of line, because love involves giving and maintaining boundaries.
When all is said and done, I know that this time, like all the rough times before it, will pass. What I will have left is my faith, my hope and the love others have for me and that I have for them. And hopefully, I would have become stronger and better able to deal with life as it unfolds.
I dithered about whether or not to write this week’s piece. I thought maybe I needed to find something a little more upbeat. Or something more topical. In the end, it all came down to authenticity. Am I able to “walk my talk” or am I going to hide behind a mask? A lot of us are hiding behind a mask, because it feels too risky to unveil ourselves to the people around us. I say “wear a mask and stay hurt, take off the mask and be healed”.
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Until next week, go well.