Live Meaningfully – By Ayesha G. Shenk, M.A.
As I sit here in a darkened home after the howling winds and driving rain has passed, I think of so many whose issues are far greater than a sticky night ahead. At last count, more than 12 million people in Florida enter tonight without power, and still we are the ‘lucky ones.’
With families all over the state and region being turned away from their homes due to the damage and destruction left in Irma’s wake, I wonder what sort of sense can be made in this kind of chaos.
What memories have been lost? What grief is yet to be discovered around every turn? Where do you find the grace and acceptance to carry on and put the pieces of life back together?
How do you possibly find the good humor and perspective to stay afloat and not punish those around you with the pain of your own loss? Today is a day full of grief. Today is a day full of sorrow. Today should also be a day full of gratitude.
The collective unconscious can be balanced yet again in the wake of devastation. With such grief comes so many others who should be equal in their measure of their gratitude and their extension of help. Yet, it’s so uncommon. We often don’t stop long enough to balance the energy of the universe with our own good fortune. We don’t take these moments to pay it forward. We are acutely aware of those transgressions and pains that we’ve sustained, yet in the moment of minor discomfort we luxuriate in it instead of feeling the grace with which we’ve been blessed and paying it forward.
The thing is, there is no sense that can be made in this kind of chaos. There is no ‘silver lining’ that can be offered when all feels like it is lost. The only grace possible is from those of us not as significantly affected in the same moment. Those of us who can offer a cup of coffee to a neighbor, a can of gas to a loved one, a sturdy back to lift limbs and debris from another’s lawn, a kind word or a hug reminding one another of the fleeting nature of all moments – even the worst ones.
The only balance that can be attained is the awareness that this moment may not be the one in which we, personally, are most adversely affected but life is full of ebbs and flows and we are only a revolution next to the sun away from another day in which things could be different. It is now that we are able to extend ourselves and positively impact the lives and pains of others.
We choose to see the grace and the light in our own lives and offer to share a bit of it when the darkness seems most saturating to those around us. Life is really difficult at times… for all of us. There are moments when it just doesn’t seem possible that we’ll feel any differently than we do in that red-hot-moment. But inevitably and invariably, we do and we will.
When my mother was alive, she often used to say, “This too shall pass” whenever whatever heartache felt the most overwhelming to me. I would say, “Yes, yes I know,” and then becry the pain of the moment, whilst quietly hoping and praying that she was right.
She always was, you know.
It absolutely did always pass.
Most of the time it left me a bit different after the fact though… a little older, a little wiser, a little more tender. In hindsight, it turns out that those were my stepping stones to emotional maturity. Whether we want them or not, there’s a lesson and an opportunity in every turned corner.
This is just another stone across the river. I’m hoping you fared well throughout the storm and the aftermath. I’m also hoping that whether or not it affected you personally, you operate as though it’s all personal and reach out to counterbalance the pain of so many others. Service, prayers, light, and love can do a lot for those who lost so much…
Till the next time,
Be Well; Live Meaningfully.
Ayesha G. Shenk, M.A. practices at 2150 Park Avenue North as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and can be reached at www.livemeaningfully.net or 407-796-2959.