If you’re like pretty much everyone else on the planet, you’ve occasionally found yourself dealing with some Big Unexpected Bit of Ugliness that blasted your life apart just as surely as if you’d stepped on a land mine. It can take months to absorb the tremendous shock and in the meantime, it leaves you reeling. Some days it’s like walking on shards of glass in bare feet. Other days it’s like scrambling over boulders, sliding back, shredding the skin off your hands, knees, elbows and shins.
And despite the fact that you keep moving through one day after another, you feel like you’re absolutely stuck in the same place. It’s like time stands still and there you are, feeling very, very stuck and wondering if you’ll ever see the light at the end of the tunnel again and know it’s not the train coming at you.
While you’re trying to absorb all of that, you’re painfully aware that you have absolutely no control over the situation whatsoever. Your life has been blown to smithereens and there you stand, holding the charred scraps of it in scorched hands while wondering what on earth you should do now. It’s bad enough when Life lobs stuff at us that we can fix, even if it’s going to take a while. But what do you do when it’s all completely out of your hands?
You wait. You feel powerless. Helpless. It’s agonising. But it’s all you can do, so you wait.
I’ve certainly been there and I’m sure you have, too.
It’s as though your life’s been ticking along, like a little pond with its smooth bits and its ripply bits, the odd strong wind whipping up a bit of a wave here and there. But the storms pass and the surface of the water calms as it seeks to find its level, and balance is restored. Always a blessed relief, isn’t it, when that happens.
And then one day, something tears into your life like a meteorite thundering through the heavens and crashing into that lake, causing an almighty great disturbance. The enormous splash creates violent waves that scatter and unsettle everything in their path.
But soon the shock passes. The traumatic waves subside, naturally seeking their level again, seeking balance as they make their way to the shore, gradually becoming smaller, ever softening, gently rolling, until they are mere ripples that reach out and tenderly caress the shore before dissolving into the sand.
And so it is with the great shocks and disturbances of Life, those events that turn you inside out when you’re right smack in the spot where the meteorite comes thundering into your soul. But your spirit will survive it even if sometimes, it feels like it won’t. Your spirit will find its level; it will seek balance. Those early difficult moments, slamming into you one after another, intense and frequent like ominous, rolling waves, will gradually dissolve into the gentle ripples of easier days.
And one day, the last little ripple caused by that initial, thunderous shock, will quietly tickle its way onto the sand and balance will once again be restored. It will happen so gradually, so quietly, that you won’t have even noticed it.
Wherever you are in that lake, whether fighting to keep your head above water in those horrible first waves, or whether you’re somewhere along the more gently bobbing ones, just keep your eye on the shore and know that you are a little closer to it today than you were yesterday. Just know that this too shall pass and one way or another, you will move on from this place. It is inevitable.