How do you handle hard times?
Connection readers share their thoughts and experiences on coping when life seems to throw more at us than we can handle. How do you handle hard times? Comment at the bottom of the page with a prayer or story of your own experience!
1“When I hear sad news about someone, of course my first response is “Poor ________!” Poor him, poor her, poor you, poor me! But then I almost always feel “Poor everybody!” too: If someone seems to have been wronged by another (for example, a crime or abuse of some kind), you know the wronger is suffering from some lack of love or wholeness or security or truth in order to have hurt the wrongee in the first place. Poor everybody! Or if people are hurting due simply to the fact that everyone is SO DIFFERENT and there are so many different angles on any given situation (for example, someone not getting a hoped-for job, or a marriage falling apart, or people having differing opinions about values they thought were shared, or problems at school, or a difficult patient/caregiver or parent/child relationship) -- poor everybody! Or when someone dies seemingly too young, and it rips a hole in so many hearts. Poor everybody! And so often the pain and sorrow in one person touches everyone in that person’s life. Poor everybody!
So I take a deep breath, summoning all the compassion I have with which to surround the heart and spirit of whomever is suffering, and I try to imagine the all-loving God watching from an eternal perspective and orchestrating everything to provide as much blessing as he possibly can, given the situation. And I look for those blessings in the here and now. I imagine God being very conscious of the joy that he is leading us towards, even as we are completely unable to believe in that outcome. This part is all I can come up with for things like natural disasters, world hunger, genocide, and other huge and horrendous heartaches that are beyond my sphere of influence. It seems fruitless to do so, but I offer it up.
But if I am nearby friends in pain, I offer to hold them and listen to them, just to be with them while the time passes, waiting for some healing to take place. I welcome their tears and encourage them to give voice to the thoughts accompanying the grief, in an effort to help them move through the trauma, not be paralyzed by it. And in my own heart, I try to tune in to the reality of the Lord’s infinite wisdom about each of our individual journeys. “The Lord is good to ALL, and his tender mercies are over ALL his works.” We can’t always see that, but may it be so, Lord!”
(Chara Daum, Pennsylvania)
2"I know that the Lord is always taking care of me. If something 'bad' happens, there’s either something that I’m supposed to learn from it or it is to prevent something worse from happening. An example is if my car won’t start and I’m late for an important meeting, it may be that if I had driven on as planned, a truck would have run a red light just as I was in the intersection. I don’t try to second guess what the Lord has planned for me, regardless of how difficult or painful the situation in which I find myself. Everything happens for a reason, even death."
(Shirley Reischman, Ohio)
3"When things are hard I tend to go running. When I run, my mind clears and I tend to find a rhythm of wordless prayer.
The other thing I do is find a picture in my mind of some perspective. A shanty town by the side of the road in South Africa, a story of slavery, or one of abject poverty and a helpless parent who can't protect his or her child. Is this a first world problem? If so, I can find a place for this in the great perspective. And in the great perspective is a promise that I believe - that there is justice in eternity. Beautiful and peaceful and safe justice..."
4"For much of my life, I've certainly exhibited an inclination to worry. A passage of New Church theology has helped to give me peace when I struggle with worrying and problems:
'For those who trust in the Divine all things are moving towards an everlasting state of happiness, and no matter what happens at any time to them, it contributes to that state.' (Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven 8478:3)
It helps me to remember to have perspective, and take a long term view (eternity). I can realize that the worst that can happen to me is really short term, and will actually benefit me in the long term. God brings good out of everything. Imagine that!"
(Rob Andrews, Pennsylvania)
5"Lord, help me to see how you are leading me. I am afraid and cannot see why what is happening is happening, but I trust that you are guiding all things to a better end. Help me see a glimmer of this guiding, and help me make the choices I need to make. I am lost, but I will trust in your love and in your wisdom, and walk in your light. Amen."
(Joel Glenn, Pennsylvania)
6"When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I often turn to the Lord’s words when he was on earth "nevertheless, Your will, not mine." Its so easy to get crushed under the weight of life's struggles, and that little phrase helps remind me that the Lord is looking out for me, and even if I can't see it now, his path for me is the path that will lead to peace."
(David Steen, Pennsylvania)