“Tomorrow! Tomorrow! You’re only a day away!” Annie
“Sorrow may last for a night. But rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30
We all walk through difficult times in our lives. For many of us, those times are temporary. Overall, we know things are going well, so we endure the bad times and just kind of hold on until something better comes.
Others of us live our lives without ever experiencing anything good. And when we take one of those stories and turn it into a movie, we end up with optimists like little orphan Annie singing about the sun coming out tomorrow. And I am certain there are people who have that kind of endurance, perseverance, and forward-looking ability.
But, when those of us who experience more good than bad sweep the bad under the rug and hide it AND we turn people’s hard-knock lives into feel good stories, we unintentionally tell people that their stories of grief and struggle are not welcome. They are signs of weakness. Get over it.
Let me repeat: I don’t think this is always done intentionally (though, sometimes it might be). I think this is a result of a lack of intentionality, vulnerability, and transparency. We are too busy making ourselves appear to look good that we never acknowledge the bad. And when we spend time talking about a story that may be difficult, we share the ones with happy endings.
Because we all want a happily ever after, don’t we?
We must remember, however, that one of the unintended consequences of never sharing our struggles is that people who have more struggle than blessing feel weak, inadequate, and like they need to hide.
So let’s be more honest, shall we?
Not everything is great. I even find myself falling back on telling people I am fine. But we all know that’s a lie.
For sure, some things are going well. But there are those one or two things that are not right and don’t look like they will ever get right. I am just unsettled. And as I look over the course of my life, I can see that most everything works out. Even in moments of grief, I am not alone. Even when I lose out on something I want, I have encouraging people supporting me.
But right now, it is hard for me to see all of that clearly. Even if it is true that 90% of my life is going well right now, it’s the 10% that I focus on.
Last week, I was doing my morning Psalm reading and journaling. I came across Psalm 30:5 and read one of the verses that has comforted me in the past: sorrow lasts for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
But this time, the verse brought no comfort. As I look over the current status of my life, the statement of joy coming did nothing. Even though I know (and have witnessed, and have experienced) joy coming after sorrow, it just didn’t sink in with me this time.
And then it hit me: I have no problem believing that joy comes after sorrow. I have seen that numerous times in my own life and the lives of those I love. I have seen some of the darkest times lead to some of the most joyful.
My problem is I don’t believe tomorrow is coming.
Sure, things may be better “on the other side,” but I am so firmly quagmired on this side that I don’t foresee things flipping.
And I hate to admit that. Because now you might think I’m weak.
Oh well. It’s where I am today. But the sun will still come out, right?
There will come a day when your life feels like it is falling apart. Unfortunately, we have created a society where we think that is a sign of weakness and failure. It isn’t. It is a sign of being a human. If you are struggling, and if your life is more struggle than blessing, please find someone to talk to.
On the other hand, if your life is more blessing than struggle, please be honest. Share when you are hurting. Share how you are able to overcome. Make yourself available and inviting to those who may need you.