The reminder is for those who might be going through a rough patch right now. Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one or suffering some insurmountable loss of health or bad news about a loved one. You know who you are. You are the ones that suffer mostly in silence. You try your hardest at work and at home to put on a happy face. When people ask how you are doing, the only words you can find are, “Everything’s just fine…thanks.” But when you get into the shower or collapse into bed at night, you let the tears fall. In secret you are suffering because you have a lot of things on your mind and you know you need to keep going. Maybe life has dealt you some hard blows and bad cards. Perhaps you are suffering the loss of a job or financial woes. I see those of you who are not sleeping at night, maybe because you are losing your home or your job and you are wondering how bad it’s going to be, now that the Holidays are approaching. Maybe your business isn’t doing as well as you expected, or that home renovation project is driving you crazy. Some of you are struggling with managing it all…school, work and home. Perhaps you are failing to meet expectations you and others have placed on you. It’s very difficult. Hard times happen and we don’t always understand the reasons why. A friend of mine who is a priest reminded me today that there is the hardship of carrying a cross (a mystery), but our hope is in the glory of bearing it well.
Some of you have loved ones who are far away from home. The worry is getting to you. Your teenager might be having emotional or scholastic problems. Maybe your marriage has fallen into a rut. Perhaps you are lonely or have suffered a betrayal in a close friendship. Without becoming absolutely too maudlin in outlining common problems many people suffer in days like these, I offer you a few thoughts, only because you’ve been on my mind.
You are not alone, even when it seems as if you are. This too, shall pass….and no problem is bigger than your own strength to bear it. Don’t give in to despair. Try and persevere. Sometimes, the highest thing we can do to beat problems like these, is to be absolutely dedicated to helping others with a kind word or deed. Maybe you can’t do much right now. Perhaps picking up the phone and calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time, mending a fence, delivering a meal to a neighbor, or writing a letter to a loved one would give you a brighter outlook. Finding a kind word, hugging someone who needs one, lending an ear and listening well, make our own problems seem less significant. Negativity breeds contempt and bitterness. Make time for family. Try to relax and slow down.
If you are ill, the very idea of usefulness escapes you. But your work is valuable and has meaning. Perhaps your primary job is that of using your own suffering as a means to sanctify those around you. Perhaps you are teaching patience to others by your own example of suffering. Your virtue is your patience.
So much is changing besides the season. Be patient and unafraid. Sorrow is seasonal, like a rough and cold winter. If you are in the throes of a difficult time, this, too shall pass and Spring is only a few months away.
Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and a bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org