Falling into Place

Have you ever had those moments in time where everything felt like it was falling apart? You didn’t think you could get through another day by smiling, or you felt like no one understood where you were coming from because of the problems you face; you don’t think anyone else understands? How about when your heart broke because the person you loved found love with someone else and you felt your soul stabbing you repeatedly? It might be difficult to see that those moments in pain were helping you fall into place for something better down the road. When I heard that statement, my first thought was, “Bullshit.” I couldn’t see the good in anything. All I saw was my pain. I didn’t care about anything or anyone else at that time. It took me a while to get through the grieving process, and sometimes, I feel that anger resurface because I tend to recall the pain and not deal with anyone else around me and their issues. My selfishness was something that I had to work through, or else it would deal with me in ways I didn’t want to think about in the long run.

When life’s storms make you fall to your knees in despair, and everyone tells you how strong you are and you feel so weak that you don’t feel like you can rise, that’s when your life is shifting. You are creating a different world than you once had, even if you don’t realize or recognize it at that moment. Sometimes I wish to burn away the pain from life’s disappointments because a couple of friends are dealing with heart-wrenching issues today. Their worlds are imploding before their eyes. They are watching the death of a loved one and the death of a relationship. Their hearts are shattering, and those who love them wish we could help them navigate their new paths. It’s up to them to do what’s right for them. When I spoke to one of them recently, she indicated that she didn’t know how to move forward when she felt stuck in neutral.

Watching the Olympics, I see so many people competing with either their best or falling on their faces and seeing that moment slip through their fingers with agonizing defeat. Everything they’ve trained for is either paying off or letting them know it wasn’t their time to shine. My heart ached for the figure skater who had to relinquish her US citizenship to compete for China. She hasn’t been skating at her best, and the whole world criticizes her. Her heart and psyche are taking a beating in front of the world. At least most of us that screw up don’t have that same type of recognition. If we screw up, there isn’t always as big of an audience. Every move is under scrutiny. When people in the limelight fall, every move is on camera or documented for the world to evaluate. In many ways, it takes bullying to a whole other dimension. But even in the throes of heartbreak, I hope she can emerge more robust and better equipped to change her mindset from broken to a healed heart.

Nathan Chen knows that feeling well. Four years ago, his performance was not what he could do. He took home a gold medal at this year’s Olympics and broke a world record. It was through tragedy that triumph emerged. But it took years of practice, patience, and a change in mindset for him to regain the confidence needed to push through the negative performance that happened previously.

I will never forget how I felt the night I had my miscarriage. Talk about my heartbreaking. I was losing my child while the woman in the next room gave birth to a child she didn’t want. My marriage was falling apart. My father was dealing with his heart attack, and consequently, cancer that we didn’t know about at the time. My job had let me go due to budget cuts, and my so-called friends were dividing their loyalties between me and my ex. People were showing me their true colors. My depression was escalating, and I was so lost. I couldn’t hide my disdain for God or what life was dishing out. The man I fell for either didn’t reciprocate my feelings or wouldn’t do anything. He gave me whiplash with his actions. My heart was shattering, and there was little to no way to pick up the pieces. All sorts of thoughts went through my mind. My ex and I had told each other too many lies over the years, and our marriage exploded. We were both at fault. I couldn’t see it at the time, but life was preparing me for something more significant than anything I could imagine.

I remember having a conversation with a leader in the community when my world felt like it was no longer mine. He looked me dead in the face and said, “You don’t understand it now, but you were born to help others.” He reminded me that we all could lead and change lives, but we have to be willing to change our lives first. We need to leave doors and windows open to experience various forms of love and opportunities. We can’t grieve if we don’t allow ourselves to process pain. We can’t shatter ceilings if we’re too afraid to look up and bust through the glass that chains us to the norm. And if we have faith, we can’t rely on faith when everything is going well. We grow, hurt, flourish, prosper, and identify with various aspects and issues in our lives. The rest of our learning is up to us.

The next time you feel like your soul is in so much pain that there isn’t an end in sight, you may not want to think about what life is preparing you for, but remember that time does help. It doesn’t fix the issue, but the numbing feeling, pain, and hurt that you feel helps change the course of your life. Use that pain wisely. Let the tears create the rivers that lead you to new destinations and opportunities. There are reasons we deal with our raw emotions. Those emotions have the power to help us change the lives of others and ourselves. We have to be willing to let them do their job while changing direction. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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