Thinking out Loud: Anyone Anywhere Anytime
On occasion a grief occurrence may strike anyone anywhere at anytime. Sometimes it is anticipated, other times completely unexpected. It can have damaging effects and block our progress, dampen our spirit, diminish our hope, and leave us vulnerable to discouragement and despair.
“I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” ~ Walter Anderson
Even without a grieving experience entering our lives, there are plenty of things in the world to be troubled about. In our lives there are plenty of serious threats to our happiness that may ruin our day. Kidnapping, floods, hurricanes, unemployment to mention only a few. Facing every day circumstances tempt us as W. C. Fields once said, to “smile first in the morning and get it over with.”
You may be anxious about the problems of your daily life, love, finances and the future. For others it may be survival, enough food to satisfy hunger, and a place to sleep. Others struggle because of extreme loneliness and significant health disabilities. No matter the reason, for all it is clear that troubles highlight worries concerning your place in the scheme of life and your perceived value. However, when horrendous grief arrives in your life, your private fears can rise to a new level. You have cause to wonder whether you will ever get back to a happy wholesome life. You look inward and not outward and discover that sorrowful circumstances can take an increasingly severe toll on your spirit, which can erode individual hope and damage or impair your inner strength.
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong; because someday in life you will have been all of these” ~George Washington Carver.
Driving the grieving occurrences you experience into a corner, painful though it may be, and learning from them can be a tough challenge. How can you stop grieving and start healing? The attitude of Thomas Edison is a model or type for healing grief happenings. He devoted ten years and almost all of his money developing the nickel alkaline battery. He was almost penniless. His recording and film production company was supporting his battery efforts. One night the cry of “fire” was heard; fire companies from eight towns arrived but had virtually no impact on the fire to his film company. It burned to the ground. Seventy-six year old Thomas Edison was there and made the following comments to his daughter: “Where’s your mother? Go get her. Tell her to call her friends. They’ll never see another fire like this as long as they live.” At five-thirty the next morning he called his employees together. “We’re rebuilding.”Oh, by the way. Does anybody know where we can get some money?” Almost all we recognize as contribution in our life from Thomas Edison came after the fire disaster. The attitude about the life challenges of this seventy-six year old man is an enabling example of how to stop lasting grief and start healing. “Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it” ~Jacques Prévert
Perhaps we can only wonder about Thomas Edison’s attitude about challenges and grief. Possibly he understood that life is full of possibilities. When you believe it, new possibilities become available. New possibilities are available for you as you seek to understand and reconcile your grief. Happiness is a choice you have. Accept an invitation to consider happiness a chosen path.
John T. Catrett, iii
Scissortail Hospice Chaplain
306 North Main Street, Suite E
Bristow, OK 74010