The Big Difference (K.Blais)

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Awful things happen to us or to the people we love and care about. Terrible things occur continuously in our daily lives. We make decisions which end up being disastrous, although they may have seemed like the best option at the time, and in other cases choices are made for us without our having any say in them at all. Sometimes we hold the power in the decision-making process, and other times we are completely powerless.

Through it all though we strive to stand up and not to sink. We do our best not to let the floods drown us or to pull us down into the depths of despair, even though they may threaten to.

It isn’t always easy. And it doesn’t always work for all of us.

It is essential to remind ourselves that eventually the waters will recede. It’s tricky to remember that sometimes though and, by no means, do we ever intend to make light of the terrible things that happen, but it remains extremely important to attempt to search for the positive amidst the negative.

Out of every horrendous situation is there always a positive to be found? Depending on individual perspectives the answers may vary: maybe, maybe not… and maybe not right away. But, if we search hard enough there is always a bit of light, a small glimmer of hope, a tiny piece of dry land that we can place our feet on, even if it’s just a tiptoe to start. Maybe sometimes the negative just requires a different perspective.

A very close person to me, my dear friend Tracy, has struggled with some health issues over the past couple of years. She one day found herself with mobility issues, needed surgery to repair her knee injury, had a health scare with a dangerous item on the job site, and was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after that (all issues completely unrelated to one another). Add to that other issues which she has dealt with throughout her life, the scope of her tribulations was immense. To be perfectly honest, her world was bleak and dark and at some very low points. With so many negatives piling up on her, there were days when getting out of bed was too much for her to think about.

The floods threatened to close in on her on more than one occasion, but through it all she always searched for that tiny aspect of hope, that glimmer of light, that small piece of land on which she could attempt to stand. Her faith led her to the belief that her cancer was a blessing because having gone through what she had, she was able to be a support system to others battling with cancer. Her journey led her to new friendships which she may have otherwise not have made. Her struggles allowed her to realize the love that so many people had for her. The darkness has allowed her to appreciate the light all that much more. All the negatives that have happened to her have led to so many more positives in her life because she chose to see past them.

Some of us battle with physical or mental health issues, or have loved ones which are battling, which have affected our (and their) quality of life. Frustration, powerlessness, and a feeling of incompetency may overwhelm us. It can be hard to find the positive when we feel so awful. Sometimes we have to realize the negative for what it is. Sometimes we need to surf the waves when we cannot stop them.

Financially or materially we may be experiencing damage or loss. There may be days when our situation seems so bleak that there seems to be no place to go. It is hard to find the positive when the negatives are reflected in everything we have, even our bank accounts.

We may have lost a loved one or loved ones. We all know someone who has experienced the immense grief of losing a person very close to them. It’s extremely hard to see the positive in death and loss, especially when we are in mourning. Sometimes though death can bring us closer to those who remain in our lives. Sometimes death brings a new appreciation for all that we had and all that we have shared with that person, and it may encourage us to cherish and hold dear the time we have with the loved ones left with us. A belief that we will be reunited with our loved one one day can offer peace. Sometimes death can lead us back to life: to living each moment to the fullest and with a deeper appreciation, and may even lead us to taking nothing, even the little things, for granted.

Perhaps relationships have dissolved, friendships and partners have been lost, and life as we knew it has become an illusion. It is difficult to see the negative when everything around us in our personal life seems in a disarray. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how things can fall apart so easily… and perhaps we neglect to see that sometimes things need to fall apart so better things can come together.

Being positive does not mean to ignore the negative. There is no need to put blinders on and pretend that the negative does not exist. Being positive, and living a life which chooses to focus on the positive, can simply mean to live by overcoming the negative. That’s the big difference.

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Keeping Our Heads Above Water (K.Blais)

We have been inundated by rain. Not only rain, but the consequences of water displacement, dams, and beaver habitats have wreaked havoc on many areas. Our rivers and creeks have overflowed with the sheer magnitude of the volumes of water they have struggled to hold. Our lakes, once beautiful places of serenity and peace nestled in God’s country, have become sources of gradual destruction and continuous elements of stress.

Bridges have been destroyed. Roads have washed away. Sink holes have erupted where the earth has seemed to attempt its escape from the intensity of the water’s force. Beloved cottages and breathtaking homes at the edges of our bodies of water have suffered. Belongings have been lost, and while only material, the loss of these possessions has still hurt us.

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(photo credits to RL)

We see a sense of devastation and destruction in so many physical ways, several locations around us hit harder than others, and yet how similar this flooding is to our emotional lives as well.

We often become inundated with problems in life. Those emotional wounds we know all too well, in addition to other stresses (both physical and emotional) laid upon us, can seem so much like the volumes of water poured upon our land. We feel the powerlessness of our inability to control what is happening to us.

We have been wronged and the sheer unfairness of being the person wronged can overwhelm us. We feel the injustice of being taken from and yet we are unable to fight back. We are abandoned, betrayed, and deceived. We struggle to obtain truth, only to be scorned by lies and untruths. What we have attempted to build up for ourselves, has only been torn down. More and more the complexities of life, even the every day things, saturate us.

Yet somehow, maybe even somewhat surprisingly, even through the downpours and the flooding, we do not crawl inside of ourselves to hide away. We do not permit the waves to simply continue to cascade over us, rendering us powerless. We do not allow ourselves to sink and drown.

Instead, we search for higher ground. We fill our sandbags and attempt to barricade the water from causing further destruction. We attempt to salvage what we have left. We lean on the support of our loving friends and family. We allow those who want to help, to help. We trust in our faith and in our beliefs. We face the issues assaulting us head on, doing what we can with what we have.

We take things one step at a time, one day at a time. We try to look for the positive and to acknowledge it, wherever the positive can be found. We remind ourselves that tomorrow is a new day in which the sun may shine and the water may slowly begin to evaporate. We keep our head above the water line, treading for as long as it takes because we do not give up. We will not let the waters win.

We remind ourselves to keep our faith forefront. Soon the water will recede back to its natural shoreline. Soon our feet will touch the sand again. Life will continue on. There may be some repairs ahead of us, but that is no different than how the Earth continues rotating on its axis, repairing itself as it goes.

And we trust that what was once beautiful, can be made beautiful again.