These last 6 months have been some of the most stressful in my life. The difficulties are not over yet, but it does feel like the worst has passed. Though hopefully this is not simply wishful thinking.
Just to be clear, this was not one lesson learned per month; my life at least is not that cut and dried. In fact, let this untidy caveat be about Lesson One: Real Life is, more often than not, an utter mess.
When curled up in a fetal position overwhelmed and whimpering, or crying hard, ugly tears of despair, don’t expect to see the light. Because dark is dark. Night is night. ‘This too shall pass’ is a truism that doesn’t necessarily take into consideration how long the tunnel is.
A song can save me. For example, ‘You’re Gonna Be Ok’ by Brian & Jenn Johnson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjF9IqvXDjY
Receive the comfort of nature, whether it’s the companionship of pets; the singing of crickets or pied fantails; the colour of sky, the green of pine, or the smell of cut grass.
This is precisely the time NOT to stop any healthy habits to do with eating and exercising. Good nutrition is a godsend, and pushing my body to its limits, sweating it out, can be a great release.
(Screaming into a pillow is also a great rage-releaser, very handy if you don’t want to alarm the neighbours, but not very kind to your voice box.)
Ask for help. Especially for prayer. It need only be from one or two friends, but it helps. Don’t know how – in my four decades of being a Jesus follower, the mystery of love and prayer has only grown deeper – but praying friends have buoyed me up like a life-saving jacket in a raging river.