Having had to deal with a series of unfortunate events, aka The Leminy Snicket in these parts, over the last two years I have somewhat been able to learn how to cope better with the bearing and the bearers of bad news.
It has been rough
actually it’s been downright shitty to be perfectly honest. What we consider ‘bad news’ is one of those things life tends to throw at us or that we tend to throw ourselves into. In other words, some trouble we cause, others we bring and some [most] of it the peaceful ones haven’t asked for. It doesn’t seem to matter. Not to scare you, but if you’re living and living well or like a wretch, the odds of bad news coming to visit you on late nights, early mornings and midday is likely. This doesn’t mean all the time. It certainly shouldn’t be every month (I’m praying). But some years are just rougher than others. Some seasons reign down stronger.
I’m not immune to it. In the last 12 months alone, I’ve had to face a series of Leminy Snickets. That ends today. It has to. I’m calling bullshit and it has to come into order. It’s been a Job season and it has to be the end of it.
Bloggers Note: I would just like to say, I believe as a person of faith we go through many different seasons in our lives. Some look like those of the Ruths, Jacobs and Davids. Others feel like those of Job, Jesus and countless others. It’s a journey.
I was thinking about it today, and I wanted to write a post on a few of the reasons I’ve managed to survive through it – the last 12 months
and the last 20 years real talk.
- When you find out, get the call, see the email or the deed, hear the words or are given the information through osmosis or the information fairy, don’t do anything stupid. In other words, no taking permanent action on a situation that cannot be undone. We’re often tempted to retaliate and do dumb shit when something is out of order or we find ourselves in a tailspin due to something that may not be out fault. This is of course easier said than done. But if you can sit down, walk away, leave or run and just think things through, it will be a lot better. Going ham and ending up in jail only complicates our lives.
- Don’t go it alone. How many times have you had something happen or get one of those awful phone calls and then you disappear off the face of the world? I’ve done it countless times. My recommendation is to call someone who can handle the information and manages to hold you up and support you. In other words, don’t call someone whose attention you’re trying to get – call the person(s) that are always there to support you and are there to care for you. I mean this. Don’t call the person who will send you over the ledge. We all have these people. Just know who your emergency team is and treat them well.
- Bad news tends to bring out a whole host of other thoughts and processes we aren’t normally expecting to experience. Sometimes it means we need help to cope and deal. This could mean counseling. It could mean a sabbatical. It could mean tackling the problems first hand with an expert or professional. Don’t be afraid to seek help. It’s one of the best starting points. Often they can quench our fears and put out those invisible fires we tend to create for ourselves. Going to therapy, going to an accountant, heading to a doctor or specialist isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
- Don’t make drastic decisions and choices during this time unless it’s an emergency. In other words, that plan to do something crazy or drastic after you get bad news isn’t something to do. Contemplate it but sit on it for a while. In other words – this means don’t turn your life inside out because you lost your job. Another job can be found or created. This sounds like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had to talk off the ledge in my time. On occasion I’m the one being talked off the ledge.
- Have faith. I cling to mine. I’m certainly not a poster child Christian. Not by any means. If anything, I use my life as an example of the things not to do when __________ . Feel free to insert whatever really stupid thing you’d think I wouldn’t or haven’t done, something I haven’t experienced and I might surprise you. I’m digressing as usual. I have to cling to my faith. I don’t really know any other way to wake up every day and have a modicum of hope. In other words, I ALWAYS try to see God in the situation – even when I can’t early on. Even when I don’t want to. Even when I would much rather be angry. I try to see and wonder what God could be up to with what’s happening at that time. It’s one of the few things I’ve found comforting during trying times. Even if you can’t possibly find or see anything good in the process, find something to hold on to and ride that wave for dear life. If you can get through these patches, I promise things get better.
They better get better.
- Get the right people around you. I can’t stress this enough, you’re going to need other people. So, play nice. Help others. Love people. Make friends. Create family. I have to say this – it may take you years of adding, subtracting and piecing together your network with the right people but it’s worth every bit of it. Not everyone is going to be there in the long term. But if you can get the right people around you – the true confidantes? You’re golden.
- Take all of the anger/pain/grief and hurt and turn it into something beautiful. Isaiah 61:3 says that God will “provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” I add this because every.single.time in the last few years I’ve received the bad news, the good, the beauty that has replaced the ashes has replaced the pain and my life has opened up at every turn. This blog took off at one of those points. I’ve met some of the people I’m closest with after those moments. I have fallen in love. I’ve been able to do some amazing things. That brokenness that comes with the bad news has allowed me to hit next level. I’m saying that once you get off the floor and pull it together (which sometimes takes a while) then it’s time to get to work.
These aren’t steadfast rules, these are just a few I could think of given the last few months I’ve been having. Mostly to remind myself that trouble don’t last always, as the old folks used to say and encourage you to hold on even when you don’t want to.
How do you get through? How do you cope?
I’m thankful for all of you and that you take the time to go on this journey with me…. read, comment and share. I’m also thankful that I have been able to share so much of what happens. If you’re not following me on twitter, you can find me @fromraewithlove
My actual life story may not be one of notoriety but it is full of lessons…. stay tuned for the corresponding book.