So, it has been a tough week…. it has been a tough few weeks. WHO am I kidding?!? It has been a really hard few years, if I am completely honest. That isn’t easy for me to say. I tend to be the ‘glass half full’ sort of gal. You generally won’t see me without a smile on my face, even when I am in agony. I work hard to make other people comfortable with my pain, even if that means I am more uncomfortable, myself. I try hard to push through everything the world throws in my direction. But this past year or so? Ya, no…. I have been REALLY struggling. I am not always wearing my happy pants. I have hit some really low lows. When, in my quietest moments, when I am brutally honest with myself, I am often scared of how bleak life looks for me right now.
It has been a TOUGH and exhausting few years.
I won’t go into the dreadfully boring details. But suffice to say, my family has gone through every type of stress possible. Death. Unemployment. Taxes. Sickness of loved ones. Finances. Health issues. Losing our home. Crisis. More health issues…. combined with wrapping my head around things that most people will only ever see in made-for-tv movies (I will get into that later, I promise). Without a break, the waves have kept rolling in, and it is all I can do to take a quick gasp for air before I am underwater, again and again,and again. It sounds awfully dramatic, but that is exactly the way it has felt. This has been my life for the past 2 years.
And it just doesn’t end. Or it hasn’t, quite yet…
I try hard not to be jaded. I promised myself many years go that I wouldn’t let the struggle harden me. But I’m human, and it is impossible somedays to NOT feel like I am giving up hope. It often feels like life will never be any better than it is right this second. There are moments lately, where I have just wanted to throw my hands in the air and through angry tears – just SURRENDER.
I GIVE UP! OKAY?! YOU’VE GOT ME! I SURRENDER! I concede to this unhappy, unhealthy, anxiety and pain-filled life! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR?!? I. GIVE. UP.
Can anyone relate?
As soon as I have felt myself give in lately , I have been met with small expressions of grace and hope. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence. But I am starting to realize that I am seeing these reminders of hope because my heart is still open to receiving them. No matter how cynical and angry I feel somedays, no matter how cheated I feel, no matter how alone I am with my pain, I see hope hidden everywhere. And THAT is not lost on me.
These small offerings the Universe keeps throwing at me have kept me going on days I felt like I couldn’t face the world. They have kept me going through some brutally hard and serious medication changes, And these signs often appear when I am in so much pain, I can barely breathe. It occurred to me last night that these moments have allowed me to create a safety net, so I don’t plummet when I fall. In my mind, I have woven a protective mesh made out of kindness of others, graceful interactions, and moments in time where I have felt unconditionally loved.
HOPE HIDES EVERYWHERE.
– To those who have left me messages on my Facebook wall – you make such a difference in my world.
– To those who have offered me a gentle hug – you make me feel worthy.
– When you smiled at me when I got up from my chair, your eyes told me you were proud of me for not giving up. You could see me wince, even though I thought I was hiding it well. But you let me save face in that moment. Our eyes met and I saw compassion, not pity.
– The thoughtful gifts that were left for me at work – they reminded me of how much I am loved and valued, as I am.
– The stickers that you thoughtfully picked out for me? Well, that small gesture wasn’t small at all. The phrases on those stickers reminded me that I am so much stronger than I realize, no matter how I feel in this moment.
– You, who called me Sweetie as I walked out of your office… You said SO much in that one word. I knew what you meant, and I felt it. That one endearing word really meant ‘I have your back, and I am rooting for you’.
– When you called me your best friend, it was your way of telling me that no matter how tough life gets, you are not going anywhere. I shouldn’t worry. You are my constant.
– You, who texts me almost every day to check in on me, just to ask me how I am feeling… It is because in that very moment when I am in your thoughts, I am the most important to you. And that means more than you will ever know.
– When you told me the podcast you are listening to, I smiled, because I know you are investing that time everyday, because you think it will help me somehow.
– And when you said you still thought I was a ‘cool mom’, what you actually meant was the last few months of pain haven’t changed how you see me, and my struggle with pain will never change that.
When I am filled with despair, and think I am right back to where I began, many years ago. I need to remind myself that this is not the case. I would have never stopped to take in all these moments of grace, and find HOPE in all of them. And THAT means something. Really, that means everything.
Just for today, with an open heart, look for signs of hope in your own life, and in your own journey.
HOPE hides in the tiniest of spaces. We just need to take the time to stop and look.
Hope truly does hide everywhere….
– Jolene xoxoxo
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