Sometimes life feels a little heavier than usual, the battles seem rougher, and we just feel overwhelmed by everything. Life is beautiful, a wonderful gift to be treasured, but It’s not always easy. The latest news about the suicide of two well-known personalities is the tip of the iceberg to a problem that is real to so many people all over the world. People we know, people we have never heard of, people who seem to have it all and people who have lost it all, from young to old and in all spectrums of life.
I see this epidemic and my heart aches. I keep asking why and I wonder if there’s anything I can do. I wonder if someone close to me, someone I may see everyday is feeling that hopelessness that wants to take everything away and in my busy day to day I may not even notice. Big problems feel so overwhelming that they make us think the solutions are beyond our reach. We think anything we do is insignificant and won't make a difference. I may argue that my circle of friends and acquaintances is too small, so how could I make a positive impact? But the reality is that everything I do matters and I need to be willing to step in faith and focus on what I can do where I am with the people around me.
In my search for guidance, peace and answers I run to God knowing that I can’t help everyone, but I can help someone and also being realistic that I need to keep an eye on my feelings so I won’t let sadness take more time, energy and attention in my life than it should.
What to do when extreme sadness roams around your life and the lives of people around you:
- Do what you can, but do something: “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by actions, is dead.” (James 2:16-17) I love this verse because it is so real. Many times we say beautiful encouraging words but do nothing, what good is that? If we can, we need to do something. It could be as simple as a text, a phone call, a note telling someone we are thinking about him or her. People will listen when they see that you care and they will see that you care when you do what you can to help them. Kind words are great, but actions really change people’s lives. What can you do for someone today? And this includes you. It’s not about solving people’s problems, it’s about being by their side as they solve them.
- Community: Isn’t it interesting that as more opportunities arise for us to be connected, more people feel lonely? Community is a beautiful thing that can be taken for granted. We all need that person we can call at any time to help us go through a difficult moment, someone who will listen without judging and who will not be telling everyone else our problems. We need to be that person to someone because the journey is long and tough, but so wonderful with the right company. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
- Know your enemies: Knowledge is power and knowing what we are fighting against is half the battle. Being realistic about the issues we are dealing with and helping our friends understand what they are going through is key to define strategies to deal with it. We are all in a battle right now. We are always dealing with something, the main difference is that some people have learned to identify it, so they are aware when it tries to strike and they can control it better. Be real about your issues, the more honest you are, the better prepared you will be. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)
Life on earth is not perfect, but we can find peace when we spend time with God and rest in Him. There’s so much we don’t understand and we probably won’t while we are here, but we don’t have to make sense of it all, we don’t really need answers to all our questions, we just need to find peace during the storm. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
You and I can do so much more than we can imagine. We can help each other navigate through life, we can hold on to each other when the waves get rough and celebrate together the beauty of the calm seas.