Climbing out of the Pit of Misery

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

At some point in our lives, we are almost certain to find ourselves swallowed whole by a tragic experience that appears to consume us completely, leaving us to wonder if we have the courage and the stamina to find our way back to the land of the living.  No matter the circumstance, it is the grief and loss that threatens to impact our way of life, and it is that act of grieving that changes us into beings that we are hard pressed to recognize.

People tell me all the time that their grief journey serves a purpose- to become lost and then, thankfully, to be found once again.  The difficulty here is that everyone’s “pit of misery” is defined by their own journey, how they experience it and the steps and measures taken to see themselves through.  Some share that their grief moves fairly quickly, that they are able to “move on”, much to their own surprise only to find themselves shell shocked months or even years later when unresolved issues leap unexpectedly back into their hearts causing mayhem and disbelief.  Others talk about how they never feel like they are making progress at all and struggle daily just trying to breathe through each moment in order to survive.

The thing is, and not to be cliché, but it really does take time and incredible effort to face loss and to make the decision that you are ready to move forward.  And no, it is not as simple as saying, “I’m ready to feel better” because, unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way.  But, we can work towards processing our grief and loss, and by putting in this work and finding the motivation that often avoids us when we are grieving can help propel us forward towards the direction of landing safely on our feet once more.

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Just a word of caution:  don’t forget the climb.  Being taken down, feeling like we are never going to rise again is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that we must all face.  And yet, face them we must because that is part of living, and life has a way of throwing some pretty stout punches when we are least expecting them.  The important thing to remember is that there is, if we are willing to see, a lesson to be learned from when we are feeling our worst.  Many choose to refer to the quote that refers to having to weather the storm before you can dance in the rain, and it works.  You know why?  Because they have lived it or are currently experiencing the life storms; they have faced their toughest battle and they have lived to tell others about it and how to emerge stronger and changed as a result.  They talk about the moment they started recognizing their feet moving forward and upward, no longer feeling stuck or mired in their sadness, and sometimes, they cannot even pinpoint or explain what happened to start that progress.  They just know that in everyone’s own time, the rising does come and people are able to climb and ascend back to a way of living that ultimately can still bring joy and happiness, even though they never once thought that possible after experiencing loss.

So you see, the climb gives us opportunity to grow, to regain strength and to learn from having lost.  We learn that we can accomplish many things, just when we started to doubt, and we see that life really does continue on- whether we are ready or not.  One foot in front of the other, one small step towards the promise of hope that awaits around the next corner.