Somethings are not about a better attitude. They are not about more skills, a better plan or being more committed. Sometimes we see the dark side of things, but some things are simply dark. Life is hard. Often without reason, without cause, without fairness in anyway life is hard and painful and assaulting. Tragedy is real. If you have not known it in your life consider yourself blessed. In the end I think we all know a measure of it.
I don’t think the tragedies in my life are any harder or anymore important than those known by others but I have known tragedy. At times I think I have done okay with it. At other times not. I have known blinding impotent rage. I have known what it means to be helplessly immobile. I have known what it means to be overwhelmed by sorrow that knows no mercy. I have known what it feels like to above anything else to not want to feel anymore. I have known the overwhelming fatigue of knowing I can’t stop but nothing I do is likely to make things better.
I have a friend who is dealing with tragedy in his life. I have no answers to make it easier. Tragedy often has no answers I think. For me sometimes it has helped somehow for someone to say they hear me… that I was not alone. I often felt outside normal human experience and knowing I was not cut-off did make a difference.
Much of what I struggle with has no answer I believe. Many core realities are unlikely to change.
I don’t know my friend will find many answers either. There is a lot of factual material that will make it easier. There is good advice and helpful tools. I fear though nothing will make it less tragic.
Here is what I think I have learned…. Sometimes they help. Sometimes nothing helps.
Accept facts . The hardest thing for me to do is just accept the fact things have changed. I want to focus on the injustice of it. I want everyone to know it shouldn’t have. There is a “but” in everything I do. It would be alright but….. When I am focused only on injustice I feel more helpless, more rageful and more impotent. At my best I move from but to and what now. I have really bad days where I never get past the injustice but I also have better days. I try to give myself grace for the bad days. When I am kinder to me I am kinder to everyone else too. “Things are what they are….” Some days you may hear it from me a hundred times.
Say yes. Everyday I must choose to say yes to life and the fact I do so one day does not mean I will the next day. There is always something worth it… sometimes small to anybody but me…. but I have to decide to look. I try to decide how I will decide to define me for this day. When I don’t events carry me away to spaces I don’t recognize or want to be.
Reach out. Share life with others. Isolation is the worst thing. Loneliness is the worst thing. Take a chance on others. Taking a chance on not taking a chance is far more dangerous. Solitude is sometimes easier. I know it is for me. But it gives a dangerous reassurance. It becomes easily inevitable and is a prison of its own.
Do good things. Life is very much a matter of momentum and tragedy easily assumes all momentum in life. Let your day each day not just be what you must live with but also what you choose to not live without. Have something to look forward to. Don’t hope you have time for good things. Do them on purpose.
Give to others . I feel like I have more when I give more. I need for life to be about more than me and the challenges I face. I think kindness makes us stronger. And sharing in the challenges of others sometimes helps with your own.
None of these things make tragedy less tragic. Sometimes they help me to make life more life. I don’t know a way to make bad things less bad or make them go away. On some days I find they are not all things.
My friend is a good hearted person. He cares about others and loves. I don’t know but imagine he already does much of what I have talked about. He has reached out to me at times when things are hard and at times when I probably am not okay. I will be always grateful.
If you have known tragedy in your life know that you have not failed or that pain and hard times are not a measure of who you are.
Take good care. It is really the best advice I have.
May this day and the days that follow bless you and may you find your path forward. Someone a long time ago told me the things in the way are not in the way. They are the way.