The Journey Through the Hard Places

Through the dark. We’ve all had to go there. We’ve all had something hard happen that came out of left field. We’ve all had a friend move away or a family member get sick. We’ve maybe even witnessed a tragedy unfold and needed someone else to carry us for awhile, the grief too much to bear alone. We’ve all seen things. We’ve all been in a dark spot at one time or another. Life doesn’t let any one of us off the hook.

The interesting part about this darkness in our human experience is that without it, we would not appreciate all the good things in our lives. We all want the good things, the love, the friendship, the successes in different areas of our lives. But who said anything about suffering? We don’t want that. We don’t want to feel down or frustrated or not enough.

Here’s the thing though… we can’t truly appreciate the good things without also appreciating the journey through the hard places. This seems to me to be an important paradox of the human experience. After all, to understand and appreciate what we have, we have to consider what it would be like if it was gone.

I’ve heard it said that gratitude can have a major impact on how we live our lives. Being thankful for the relationships we have, the roof over our heads, the food on the table can really shift our perspective. And does it cost us to be thankful? It literally costs us nothing, but it benefits us so much. Instead of dwelling on the car that just cut me off (true story of struggle for me here), I can try to shift my thinking to WHY that person is driving like a maniac… maybe they can’t be late for work again or they will be fired, maybe someone is having a baby in their backseat, maybe a friend called them for help. The point is, when I take a step back in compassion, I can allow gratitude to come into me instead of anger, annoyance, or hate.

So let’s bring this back to the journey through the hard places. Am I saying the hard places will disappear simply with gratitude? I am not saying that at all. I am saying that as we journey through whatever hard thing is in front of us, finding things to be grateful for could serve as stepping stones across the hot lava of the situation when we can’t seem to see a way forward. Take a step in gratitude, breathe, feel the heat of the moment, stay on that stone as long as you need to, and then look for the next one.

Going through the dark times in our lives is also more bearable when we have someone who cares about us. If you need help in the midst of a struggle, always remember your people. Those who care will show up. You don’t have to be alone. They can hold your hand as you jump from stone to stone through the mess you’re dealing with.

I was really sick last week, which is why I didn’t do my usual Monday post. It’s the first one I’ve missed since starting this blog in April, if that tells you anything. What it tells me is that I’m committed to being here, sharing my thoughts, and connecting with others. I am grateful to have my health back and be back on here again this week. Thanks for being here.

Wishing you all love and hope this week, especially in your journey through the hard, dark places. ~ Sonja K.

Sometimes when you look a little closer in the hard places, you can see love.

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