Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad
When my first born became an elder sibling, we had a time in which the only bedtime story he wanted to hear was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. The book chronicled a day in which everything that could go badly for Alexander did.
The book's ending, "Some days are like that," was stark and guileless. It offered neither judgment nor cheerleading. It simply offered the promise of tomorrow, without denying the "yuck" of today. (This conclusion seemed meet and right to a child coming to grips with the fact that the new baby was a permanent addition.)
The past seven days have been pretty rough for me. I've been worried about my child who is currently an ocean away (and trying to pretend that I'm not really worried). I've been in two car accidents; I had a flat tire on my rental; I fell on my bike and was convinced I'd broken it. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
For the most part, I did what I always do: work; get things done; keep moving. My strategy of just muddling through worked ... until it didn't. This was the point at which "my coper" stopped coping. And I just felt paralyzed.
Fortunately, I have a few good "soul keepers" in my life. These are the friends and family that I can count on to hold me up when I just want to fall down. They listen; they love; they pray for and with me.
They never offer me a platitude or cliché. They give me a tissue. They grab my hand when I'm teetering on the brink of despair. They throw a rope ladder down when I've already fallen into the pit. These are the people who remind me that sometimes, life is just damned difficult. And even so, tomorrow (or next week) will come.
The support of my "soul keepers" got me through my inevitable spiritual crash. They pointed out while I'd had two accidents, I had no major injury and a car that was still drivable. Through them, I remembered that my personal parenting goal was getting my kids to adulthood with a love of life and a sense of adventure. I also realized that even if my bike had been broken (which it wasn't, thank you Jesus!), I hadn't been: bumped and bruised certainly, but not broken.
It took a couple of days, but eventually, the truth that I am blessed beyond measure became clear. It is often so much easier to see the negative places in my life than to engage my spirit's imagination: to look at things creatively and with appreciation. I sometimes forget what a gift my life is. And I am thankful that I have people in my life who remind me. I pray that there is a person or people in your life who, in difficult times, will hold your hand and remind you that some days (weeks, months) are just hard.
These people are one of life's greatest blessings.