Numerous obstacles people face in life are anything but easy. You wonder, "How can I possibly get through this?" Your heart is breaking and you feel that you cannot possibly endure the sadness you feel. "How can you?"
One of the most traumatic circumstances someone might experience is the death of a spouse -- particularly if you're a couple who has been close. Many have told me that life is certainly not the same as before. It's like a part of them is gone.
One person related that without her husband, life contained little pleasure. Another said that she didn't know how she could go on living without her husband's companionship.
I attended a show at a resort area recently. Three exceptionally talented singers presented the entertainment. They were great. However, I was disappointed to see that their audience was noticeably sparse. The group, including the band accompanying them, was wonderfully gifted, but evidently the theater had failed to advertise properly or perhaps word-of-mouth was insufficient to draw a crowd.
I attempted to show my enjoyment by clapping extra hard after each number they sang. The singers performed as if they were entertaining an immense number of people and they thanked those present profusely for their applause. You would have thought the auditorium was packed.
I felt sad because so few attended the artists' exceptionally well prepared and skilled performance. The group deserved better. I complimented the vocalists, telling them how good they were. They smiled exuberantly and thanked me -- yet they followed with, "Be sure to tell others about us." I returned, "I certainly will." That was one of life's disappointments I'm sure for the performers. Nevertheless I feel sure the group will continue entertaining and the sparce audience will turn into a large crowd.
Writer T.L. Nash says, "If you know you are capable of anything because of who you are, you will always reach your destination. It may not always be easy but it will be worth it, look ahead of you, never behind. Have faith in yourself."
During the concert, one of the female singers drew a man from the audience to come on the stage and joke with her. I learned the person was 82 years of age and had been married to his present wife only two years. I thought that fact was so neat and inspiring.
The couple seemed to treasure each other without a doubt. During intermission, I stood talking with the wife of the recruited gentleman. I asked her a bit about the marriage and complimented her on the situation. She said, "My first husband passed away, and so did his wife." Her husband had suffered cancer. "You don't know what it's like, losing a spouse, until you experience it," she said.
Evidently God blessed both by bringing them together. Neither said, "I'm too old" or "What will other people think?" Rather the two found a way to survive rather than pine the rest of their lives. Remarriage is certainly not the only, or even always the best, way to assuage your grief after the death of your companion, but it worked for them. Everyone has to find his individual route to solve whatever problem or hardship he encounters but there's always a way.
All people must deal with a disappointment or sadness of some kind. The key to getting through what you think you can't is faith -- faith in God and faith in yourself. If you think you can persevere, you can. The same holds true for a fearful attitude.
If you continue rehearsing that you can't make it, your belief will materialize. Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God." Remember you are never alone in what you encounter. Keep believing you can and you will.
Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.