FULL load

Last evening, I received a call from a close friend who has really been through the wringer, both personally and professionally, over the last two years. The hits just keep coming, and yesterday something happened that finally pushed her, a woman who possesses indomitable strength and a ferocious will, over the edge. She reached her limit, and was in tears, just needing to get it all out and wondering how to make it stop.

In the course of our ensuing discussion, I raised a question that I’ve asked a lot over the last few years: Why is it that when something goes seriously wrong in our lives, the universe seems to pile on rather than letting us deal with one crisis at a time?

I have countless friends who have been forced to deal with piles of troubles at once. If they’re lucky, it’s something frustrating but mundane (while the kids are home sick and you’re missing a deadline, the furnace dies and you get a foot of snow). But more often, it involves multiple serious issues – relationship, family, financial or health crises, and often, the death of a close friend or family member.

For me, the millennium kicked off a decade of ongoing upheaval, loss and tragedy once removed. I kept trying to figure out why, but slowly came to realize that it’s all just a part of life that, amazingly, I’d mostly escaped up until then. In my younger days, I had very few encounters with sorrow or loss beyond the normal vicissitudes of unrequited love or friendship broken, an elderly grandparent’s passing or the death of a pet.

It’s often said that life gives us only what we can bear; that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. From devastation, we gain perspective and wisdom, and we learn that we can survive most anything. But as I told my friend, I wonder if there isn’t a deeper message in all that turmoil. Most of us hang on tight to the illusion that we exert some degree of control over our schedules, our careers, our relationships, our bodies, our lives. At some point, I believe, we have to learn how to loosen our grip and let go. If we don’t do it sooner, life forces us to do it later.

What’s that old saying? You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.


About Mindy

I am divorced, no kids, working full-time in corporate communications. There are never enough hours in my day, mostly because I insist on hygiene, food, exercise and clean dishes. Really, how do women with kids do it?!?
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2 Responses to FULL load

  1. mmm61 says:

    I think you’re right Mindy, sometimes we have to be hit over the head to let go of our illusion of control and to accept that life is in a constant state of change. I had what I call “the year from hell” a few years back. It made me come to appreciate that there is a lot to be learned by having the ground pulled out from under you. You almost have to let go and trust in the wisdom of the universe to guide you through it. So, I guess it forced a surrender to the universe/God/Spirit – whatever we want to call that higher divine wisdom. Not that the illusion of control hasn’t re-emerged from time to time. But it showed me an alternative to control, and sometimes I remember to let go.

  2. Mindy says:

    mmm61: I don’t know that the road of life ever runs in a straight line. I try to remind myself that it’s often been the most painful detours that resulted in the greatest personal growth — and often unexpected riches. But when you’re in the moment, the instinct is to fight like hell. Once you’re on the other side, it’s the remembering that’s the hardest part.

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