Think about it...
What has been the very worst day or moment of your life? When did your world cave in on you so completely that you were thrown into a new reality where nothing was familiar and everything felt terrifying?
If you haven't yet experienced anything resembling this, I almost feel sad for you.
Not that I'm wishing ill health or misfortune onto you, but I know--first hand--how my world became a brighter and happier place to live after healing the most devastating event in my life.
And I wish that for everyone.
For me, it was March 23, 1996 when my then-husband of ten years came home from work and disclosed--sort of--that he'd had an affair. I say "sort of" because I had to guess by the way he was acting: evasive, jittery, angry--not his normal demeanor--and by the way my intuition was screaming at me.
And it wasn't even the whole truth.
After an agonizing few weeks of marinating in huge amounts of grief, rage, and disbelief about an affair, I discovered that he'd been having affairs for the length of our marriage.
Talk about a swift and mighty kick to the gut.
Our babies were one, three, and five, with two still in diapers. I wasn't working much, and I was under the illusion that he was the most loyal man I'd ever known.
I had no idea what to do or where to turn.
So in my desperation and grief, I did the one thing that felt sane: I let go.
I caved. I cried. I asked for help. I screamed. I wrote. I reached out to God, family, and friends.
Yes, it was mostly gut-wrenchingly painful and heart-stoppingly awful. But as I allowed life to take the lead--with me often kicking and screaming as I felt dragged along--I began to change.
Most days were long and difficult, with the occasional sprinkling of hope. But as the days turned to weeks, then months, something different was happening: I was seeing reality for what it was, not for what I'd hoped it was. And life took on a new and colorful hue.
I had to drop old expectations and fantasies. I had to face awful truths and confront monumental lies. I had to look at myself and uncover my own insecurities, illusions, and mis-perceptions.
I had to be willing to become someone new.
And as I gave in to my new life, I began to heal.
Within a few years, I was strong enough to endure a divorce, then I wrote a book about my story. A few years later, I moved my kids cross-country where I confronted and healed my history of sexual abuse (another kick in the gut).
I once thought I'd never, ever get over the blow to my marriage and my life, but as I did the hard and tedious work of self-discovery, the agony of betrayal dissolved.
All that remained were the blessings.
What I remember is the the courage I cultivated, the strength I nurtured, and the joy I found on the other side of pain. I reclaimed my self-respect and acted in ways that supported my life.
For the first time, I felt empowered and whole, and it could not have happened without first having endured a huge shift in my thoughts and behaviors.
Essentially, I would not have discovered a new life without first getting kicked in the teeth.
So if you are facing a blow to your life right now, remember somewhere in your grief that life will one day become bright and kind again, and that your agony will be used for everything good.
I can almost guarantee it.