When life becomes difficult, what get’s you through?
There are times when all of us face difficulties in life. Many of our difficulties are related to loss: the death of loved ones, the ending of a significant relationship, unemployment, financial failure, or the loss of our health. When faced with such difficulties, how do we cope? What does it take to live in a way that’s grounded and centered when we feel like we’ve been knocked off balance?
Over the last several months, I’ve been attempting to make my way through a situation which I find particularly difficult. The details are not important. What is important is that I’ve come to realize how to take one day at a time and move through challenges I don’t want to face.
Spiritual writers often suggest that gratitude is essential for living life well. Being thankful for life seems easy enough in the good times. But living with gratitude during the challenging times — what is there to be thankful for when life seems to crumble? Yet, I’ve realized that by cultivating gratitude on a daily basis, I’ve been able to re-establish my grounding during what have been difficult months for me.
I spend time each morning in prayer and meditation. About a month after this difficult period began, along came Easter along. A Liturgical prayer in the weeks after Easter frequently uses Psalm 118 “This is the day our God has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Each morning, as part of my prayer and meditation, I began to repeat this verse and sit with it for a few minutes. I’d look out my window and repeat this verse. Some days I’d see birds in the yard or watch the sun come over the horizon. Other days, I’d see rain and dreariness. Whatever was happening inside of me or outside my window, I repeated to, “This is the day our God has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” This mantra enabled me to grow in the awareness that they day was a gift. No matter what was happening, there was reason to find joy and gladness — to be thankful for the day I was beginning.
I know this may sound trite or even come across as some simple-minded, feel-good approach that ignores reality, but for me, it has helped tremendously. In the midst of a struggle, I’ve learned to focus my attention on there being something more than just the struggle. I’ve grown in appreciation that today, this day, is a unique gift. Whatever comes my way, its part of the richness of life’s experience. In the wide range of human experiences, the affirming moments and the times of struggle, I have the opportunity to be thankful.
What does it mean for you to live with gratitude during times that are good and times that are rough?
© 2016, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.