“There is always a glimmer in those who have been through the dark.”
Some people say it’s better the devil you know. But sometimes familiar pain can be so much worse than the surprising kind. That feeling of – not again, I know this feeling and I didn’t want to be here again. Ever.
Sometimes I feel like I can handle a situation, argument, betrayal if I know there won’t be the next time. It’s almost like I put my faith in the belief that there won’t be. I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t base my responses, trust and hope for the future on the expectation that there won’t be the next time. Because sometimes, there is.
I find that while trying to deal with the present pain, I’m often overwhelmed by the fear of the possibility of it happening again. What if I can’t cope with it next time? My mind and heart become jumbled with thoughts, fears and what ifs. I find myself unable to deal with the pain of now because I’m already worrying about the pain of next time.
Like all fears, the fear of next time loses its power when we bring it out of the darkness, tangle and disorder. If we’re going to bring it into the light, add a little direction and even some order, what does that look like? Journaling? Conversations with a wise friend? A good therapist? Does it mean a quiet moment in the corner of the local coffee shop? Bible in hand? Honest whisperings to God? Does it mean writing a list of the things you did right? And letting everything else go?
For me it looks like a quiet moment, coffee in one hand, journal in the other, and written conversations with myself, and with God. Honesty, pain and then – ok, maybe I did this well. Maybe I did that well too. Next time, I’ll try to consider ___, maybe I’ll try doing ___, saying ___. I’ve learned not to beat myself up or judge myself or think – I should’ve done it differently. I try to have grace for myself and remember that I did the best that I could, under the circumstances. And honestly? That’s all that is required of us: to do our best, under the circumstances. Because really, what is the ‘right way’? Isn’t it simply to keep trying, to get back up and dust ourselves off, to face another day and take another brave step?
So next time that familiar pain strikes, may our journal pages overflows with words of kindness and positivity towards ourselves. May our hearts slowly heal, bolstered by the fact that we’re treating ourselves with grace. And may our minds look toward the future, knowing that though there may be the next time, we are armed with ideas and plans and options to explore. Because once we bring it into the light, next time doesn’t seem quite so scary and perhaps now we can approach it with a little less fear.
From my fearing-less heart to yours,