Sunday, July 11, 2010
Some of the things are stressful of course in the moment, like getting your purse stolen with who knows what credit cards and financial information in it, or having a kid get in trouble and labeled at school, or having your car break down on a monthly basis. They can certainly cause chaos for the time being, but they aren't the end of the world.
Then, there are the really big things that are beyond stressful. There are things like losing your home when the housing market crashes and your spouse loses their job, or losing your spouse altogether to divorce. They aren't the end of the world either, but seeing people I care about go through these things is scary. The reality that really lousy things don't just happen to other people- they also happen to people we know, very good people- and of course, they could happen to us too- it's not a comforting thought. Knowing that sometimes teens who had awesome mothers still can have serious problems and do stupid things is pretty unsettling, as is knowing that hardworking and responsible people can lose all they've worked for in a recession. I really don't like the fact that even when you try to do all the right things, it doesn't always work out.
While these hard times make me see that none of us is invincible, they also show me that I am blessed to know some incredibly strong women. I'm in awe at the inner resources of one friend as she weaves a new life with her kids- leaving behind her home of 20 years and her unfaithful spouse who didn't deserve her. My heart aches when I talk with other friends as they find drug treatment programs and eating disorder specialists for their nearly grown children. I can't even imagine the pain of watching a child go through this. I have nothing to offer but prayers and hugs. I don't discount the value of those- I just wish I could do something concrete to fix things.
As one friend told me the other day though, what choice do we have but to hold up? You can let things ruin you, or you can keep going. No, it's not always easy to put one foot in front of the other, and sometimes you do just need to cry and wonder "why me?" But if you get stuck in that place, then you're missing out on what you have left of life.
When I recently heard that the 9 year old son of some old friends who we haven't seen in years is undergoing treatment for cancer, I wanted to cry. It also puts a lot in perspective- losing things doesn't really matter in the end- it's people that are important.
As I chatted with my friend, who is handling some pretty stressful life events herself in a most admirable way, she said that of course she has moments when she can't believe what is happening, but she tries to keep thinking that someday the problems of today would be in the past- that at some point, they'd be looking back on it. Maybe they wouldn't exactly look back and laugh, but at least the current crisis would be over.
So, what helps you through the stressful times?