Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Dealing with the overwhelming
A friend of my son’s killed himself over the labor day weekend. The young man was 23. Why? We can speculate but never know for sure. He suffered from a mental illness and probably felt overwhelmed.
We all feel overwhelmed from time to time. We even have colloquial expressions such as “I lost it”, “I don’t know what I was thinking”, “I thought I would be better off if I went to sleep and didn’t wake up”, “everyone would be better off if I wasn’t here”, “nobody loves me”, “living life like this is just not worth living”.
AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, is not just a program to help a person struggling with problems with alcohol, it is one of the biggest and most significant spiritual movements in the world. While not religious, the foundation of the program is the recognition of one's "higher power" whatever the individual chooses that to be. AA has many slogans. One of my favorites is: "One Day At A Time". Jesus says in Matthew 6:34 a similar thing when he says, "So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble."
There are many ways that adversity presents itself to us. Adversity shows up in the form of a puzzle which engenders confusion because we don't know what to choose or how to proceed. Sometimes adversity shows up as an obstacle or barrier that is placed in our path that requires us to find a way around it, over it, under it, or with great effort, through it. Sometimes adversity shows up as entanglements in a situation where everything seems interconnected or dependent on something else making it impossible to get free, to gain clarity, to find our way from the labyrinth type maze that we are trapped in. No matter what kind of adversity we face, we are almost always better off if we break it down into smaller parts and take it one step at a time.
Easy Does It. Let Go and Let God. One Day At A Time. Fake It Til You Make It. First Things First, and my all time favorite – Keep coming back.
So many great slogans. So much wisdom as we attempt to manage the impossible and overwhelming. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and while things can temporarily seem overwhelming there is always someone, somewhere who will understand, who will be there for us, who will provide solace, mercy, compassion, and grace. Finding such a person, at times can be difficult, but they are around in our world. They are not on the cover of People Magazine. You won’t see them on TV. They are not celebrities. They are walking this earth as ordinary human beings but they bring grace and when overwhelmed you need to find one of these grace bearers. When you do, no matter how difficult your life, no matter how overwhelmed you feel, you will know that you are in the presence of love and that makes even a wretched life worth living.