If you're reading this right now, you are most likely suffering from a painful experience in your life, hurt that is so tremendously heavy that it feels like you can barely catch your breath.
I know the feeling.
During those moments of darkness, I often have similar thoughts like, "Why me?" And I tend to dwell on that idea and try to figure out what I did wrong to receive such a cruel punishment in my life.
Most of us want and need to place blame on someone or something before we willingly move on from tragedy. But have we ever really thought about what comes from pointing fingers? Nothing. Sometimes we can't change our circumstances, and it is up to us to decide how to move forward.
In the past year, my mom has had to suffer from countless health problems that required surgery. She went through a highly painful surgery that required months of rehabilitation, only to find out that it had failed nine months later. Once again, she prepared herself for the same intrusive surgery that was performed in June.
A week after her surgery, while coming home from the hospital, my parents were struck by a texting driver in the hospital parking lot after my mom's first follow-up appointment. The force of the car accident caused her stitches to completely pull out of their place and once again, the surgery was all for nothing.
This month, my mom had to suffer through days in the hospital. Unable to keep any liquids or solids in her stomach for more than a week, she was operated on for a third time.
During this time of trial, my family has despaired for my mom's battle with her health and the uncertainty we're all facing. Apart from my mom's health problems, we were dealing with many other trivial problems as well, and our thoughts were plagued with questions of "Why is this happening to our family?" We went about blaming the surgeon for his inability to do the surgery correctly the first time and the driver of the vehicle who carelessly crashed into my parents. We also thought about what we could have done to prevent my mother's health from declining and how things might have been different had we had taken a different approach.
"The shell must break before the bird can fly." -Lord Alfred Tennyson
What I failed to notice for some time was my mother's attitude about her struggling health. Throughout these endless months of pain she has endured, not once did she complain about how awful she felt. Although she wasn't able to work, unable to do the things she loved and tired easily when doing minimal tasks, her concern was only directed at showing kindness and service to everyone around her. Her faith in her surgeon never wavered, and when the driver who totaled my father's car burst into tears, my mother didn't point fingers. She simply hugged her and told her that accidents happen.
Even through the times I would notice her grimace in pain and then quickly mask it with a smile, she never complained. And while she was admitted to the hospital for a number of days, she would sit quietly and thank every medical assistant and nurse that attended to her each day.
How does it make sense that my family had a worse attitude about the situation than my mom (the one who was enduring all of the physical pain) did?
Although my mother's life was seemingly falling apart before her eyes, her ability to look to the future and look forward with faith and hope truly changed my entire perspective on life.
And with that, I have some advice for you:
"It is your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself, that determines your life's story." -Dieter Uchtdorf
In case you haven't figured it out yet, life is not easy. It wasn't meant to be. In the midst of all of your pain, the best thing you can do is remember that, although things may get rough and unbearable at times, life goes on. We are all given a different load to carry, and you are the one to decide what to do with yours. You can try to place the blame, or you can accept your circumstances. You can react with anger or with acceptance and understanding. You can let your heavy load drive you into the ground, or you can bear it until it becomes light.
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." -J.R.R. Tolkien
You only get one life here on earth, and it's easy to forget how limited that time is. Time is too precious to be wasted in the depths of negativity and self-pity. If you want to see a change, be the change. You can either despair in the darkness that surrounds you, or choose to turn your heads toward the light and seize your life by the reigns.
"I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on." -Robert Frost
While your world may seem to be falling apart now, there is always hope to hold onto. Everything you are going through is shaping you into the person you were destined to become. Life really does go on and, if you allow it to, will eventually lead you to places that seem out of reach right now. Don't let uncertainty, grudges or a lack of understanding cripple your chances at a bright and hopeful future. Keep going, hold your head high and do not give up. Things that are broken can be pieced back together.