On Days Like This: Finding Courage Amidst Despair.

There are days when my heart turns heavy and dark, when all the light in the world goes out and everything appears dull and grey.

When the heaviness weighs every step, and even the simplest of tasks becomes tedious and exhausting.

When cheerful voices and smiling faces are as foreign and far away as the moons of Mars, and I ask myself, “What’s wrong with me?”

When despair descends as a dark immovable cloak, and there are no answers, and I cannot help myself or anyone else.

On days like this, I find the need to remind myself how brave I am because I forget. But I am brave.

It takes great courage to sit in the middle of discomfort, even for just one minute, especially when our whole modern world is built up around avoiding discomfort.

In a world of distractions, I choose not to turn left or right, but stay focused straight ahead.

This takes great courage because when I look around, it seems as if no one else is doing this.

I so rarely see anyone stop and ask: “Why do I need such distraction?” “Why the constant noise?” “What am I trying to feed?” And I think: “Man, I must be weird.”

And it feels like I am leaving the pack and stepping out on my own, and it feels lonely, cold and terrifying.

But there comes a time when anything else but this authenticity to myself (all of myself, even the painful parts, especially the painful parts) demands too high a price. In-authenticity becomes too bone-crushingly painful.

So, at these times, when I find myself caught between two worlds — the old stagnant familiar and the new unknown — I remind myself that I am brave. I remind myself that this is why I am here.

I am here to love this pain and to love this discomfort.

On days like this, I snuggle in to despair. I invite her along, and together we move very slowly. We navigate together the seemingly meaningless tasks and chores to be completed.

On days like this, I am quiet. I take it easy on myself, I sip tea and watch the clouds pass. I give my children extra kisses and take long quiet walks.

Though I always initially resist when she shows up, despair has taught me so much about silence, about the virtue of moving slowly, about doing tasks for the doing itself, not just for the completion.

She has shown me the depth of my courage, but the greatest of all of despair’s lessons is the lesson of surrender.

So, on days like this, I find the need to remind myself that I am brave. Brave enough to surrender. And from this surrender comes an even greater love. Redemptive love.  Love beyond judgment. Love beyond fear.

Love that whispers Stand tall, I love you when I want to cower and run away. And when despair descends, this love reminds me: “This is why you are here, this is why you came.”


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Abby Pingree
Abby Pingree spent the first seven years of her life in a hippie commune. She is currently an author, hospice nurse, mother, and student of life. She has made friends with her own experiences with drug addiction, bulimia, dishonest and dodgy behavior by simply telling the truth. She explores these experiences in a book titled: Completion, by C. Abigail Pingree. She now seeks an authentic life. She writes for Elephant Journal and blogs for Huffington Post. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Abby Pingree
Abby Pingree

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