Parenting • Sep 07, 2012

Finding Hope when you need it most

As I sit to write this blog, my thoughts are like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is caught in the tornado, whirling and spiraling as she tries to get her balance.  I grapple with writing about a pediatric topic that is “educational” or “trendy,” but my mind isn’t on any of those things. My mommy mind is in a whirl.

You see yesterday someone threw a potted plant through my car window and stole my purse. The police officer that arrived at my door was curt and condescending and all those adjectives that made a not-so-fun situation worse. Phone calls to cancel credit cards, trips to the collision center and to the bank followed. Time and energy and money that are all precious, spent fixing a senseless act.

But that wasn’t really what left me empty and emotionally spent at the end of the day. No, this day was just the little tidal wave that sank the ship that was limping along. The monsoon happened weeks before when my friend lost her beautiful daughter in a car accident. One minute she was here, happy and healthy and the next she was gone. Almost every day since, I wake up and my first thought is “she’s gone.” Her mom has to get through another day. Another day without hugging her, another day without hearing those terrific stories teenagers tell, another day.

So much loss has occurred locally and nationally, that I know that I am not alone in trying to find an emotional footing. So, rather than take the safe route and write an easy piece, I’m going to step out onto the plank and write the tough one and hope that in doing so, I’m there at a time when some of you are walking the same blustery, mud-covered trail and we can hold hands through the storms brewing in our minds and hearts. I hope you will share your thoughts and help me as well.

As I often do when I am researching a more traditional subject, I headed to my books and my computer and read, looking for clarity for myself and hoping for a nugget to pass along to my fellow mommies. I read and read. But what resonated most with me was what I read in When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner and quotes from the Oprah website.

“ There is a crucial difference between denying the tragedy, insisting that everything is for the best, and seeing the tragedy in the context of a whole life, keeping one’s eye and mind on what has enriched you and not only on what you have lost.” Harold Kushner (paraphrased)

When we are feeling lost, hopeless or as I would call my current state “fuzzy and foggy”, the thing we need to do is just be. Just show up

“Hope begins in the dark. The stubborn hope that if you just show up, and try to do the right thing the dawn will come. You wait, and watch and work. You don’t give up.” Anne Lamott

At any moment now, my three children will come bounding through the door full of stories of the day. How the science teacher took a bite out of a candle that wasn’t really a candle but instead a cheese stick  or this cool song they heard in Communication Arts on a CD called School House Rock and they will all begin to sing “Conjunction junction what’s your function…”Sometimes we are there for our children; many times it is they who are there for us.

So when the unthinkable happens and your heart is broken or you feel lost, remember others are hurting and gain hope just knowing you  aren’t alone. The “thing” you have to do to get out of that place is simply show up. Keep being you and just keep moving forward a day or an hour at a time. And, when life’s meaning is missing and the light of hope is dim, look only to your children and know the future is very bright as long as the world has children in it. Watch them, listen to them, and you will truly know this.