Dealing with Life in Turmoil

ToughTimesHighs and lows are just part of life.

When things aren’t going the way you want them to, and you feel like you are losing control, that could be a signal that it’s time to focus on solutions. It is important not to get swept away by negativity. There is a Jewish folk tale about King Solomon (the story varies, but I recall a version in which Solomon was bipolar) in which a wise member of his court advised him “…and this too shall pass.”

Several years ago, the flight I was on slid off the end of the runway in Milwaukee. It’s hard to express the terror I felt without lapsing into profanity, so I won’t even try. Nobody was severely injured (I had no physical injuries at all), but what should have been a routine trip and a restful night ended up with me finally getting off the plane well after the car rental booth had closed for the night. They wouldn’t let us off until they got enough plywood to put on the mud so that we wouldn’t have to slog through 100 yards of mud up to our knees.

I didn’t know anyone I could call, and my checked luggage was in a plane that was sunk about 6 feet into mud, rendering the cargo hatch inaccessible. Since there wasn’t anything that I could do about it, I just told myself that I was lucky to be alive, and that I would endure.

I recalled the story of Solomon.

I found a corner, used my carry-on as a pillow, and slept on a hard floor in the terminal until sunrise. I awoke stiff and sore, but alive and uninjured. I had a theatrical performance that day, but my costume was in my checked luggage. I rented a car, got to the performance site, and with the help of the folks there, we cobbled together a costume. The show went on. The next day, the airline had managed to dig through enough of the mud to access the cargo hold. I got my luggage, and life returned to more-or-less normal.

You are going to face turmoil and difficulties throughout your life. These too shall pass. Regardless of how tough things get, your situation isn’t going to last forever. Try telling yourself that you will survive, and things will eventually improve. No matter what the problem, what turmoil you are facing, this too shall pass.

At some point, you will look back and recognize the lesson that you learned, and use that to improve your future.

A lesson from that night in Milwaukee: Ask for help if you really need it. And express gratitude when you get that help. I came through that experience feeling pretty good about myself and my new friends.

Another lesson: I can now see things from a different perspective. I came close to being injured or killed that night. Having a bad day at work is not that big of a deal anymore. Even losing a job doesn’t compare to what I went through that night in Milwaukee.

Eventually, whatever turmoil you are currently experiencing will be nothing but a memory. It won’t matter any more. You might even look back and laugh, or you might even be incredibly thankful for what looked like a terrible ordeal at the time, because what came out of it was good. Or, at least OK.

What is going on right now is just a tiny part of your whole life. Keep sight of the Big Picture.

Life will also have beautiful moments. You will endure the pain, because you understand that it will be worth it. You will overcome that pain – the process can be part of your self improvement plan.

During difficult times, you will at least discover who your real friends are. That can be valuable information.

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