When Hope is Gone…
Sometimes starting over is a choice…and sometimes it’s not. We’ve all faced new beginnings whether as a result of a crisis or the result of the seasons of life.
Children even experience having to face new hopeless beginnings that they have no control over. In addition to divorce, the death of a parent or having to change schools, there comes that graduation day when you are no longer going to see your High School friends 5 days a week. Your friends disperse to travel out of state for college, or transition from student to full time work.
Other new beginnings are when a couple has their first child—they will never again be a twosome, living the newlywed life. The glorious experience of being a parent also comes with sacrifice and responsibilities and “date nights” and travel become much less frequent and are replaced with trips to the fast-food restaurants with ball pits and parks. All the above can be startling.
Sometimes the natural changes in life that are not caused by trauma, bring more shame and guilt when they bring on depression, because you think you should be bigger and stronger than that and that you are “the only one” who is dealing with the loneliness or fear of new hopeful beginnings.
When my late husband died, I gravitated to every website, blog and article that had titles like, “New Beginnings,” “Starting Over,” “It’s a New Day.” I felt like I was on planet Mars and life seemed dramatically different—not normal anymore. In summary, this is what I did to survive and move from surviving to thriving!
In fact, we all have been through a global social transition with over 2 years of quarantine during the pandemic. The question is, how do you start over? I reflected on my own experience while writing this, and wrote the first 7 tenants I held to, that propelled me to thrive in the “new.”
- I acknowledged that Nothing was Going to be the Same and I had to accept that.
- (This blog is not on grief, I will blog on that too, but I just want to focus here on starting over, in a general sense.)
- I made a decision to Be Like an Adventurer and embraced new experiences and friends.
- I said yes to every invitation to fellowship, every program that would be a blessing to my 11 year-old: the “Big Brothers” program at church, the overnighters with other church youth groups, etc., and when I realized I wouldn’t be able to afford the mortgage on my house, I eventually took it as an adventure to experience a new home, in a new neighboring town.
- It helped to Change my Environment—my hang out places.
- I started going to different beaches, coffee shops and stores just to not “look back,” and took the opportunity of a forced new beginning, to separate myself from those who were negative and draining me of my energy and confidence.
- Stay Busy! I am naturally a homebody, but during transition, it was not good for me to hang out at home by myself too long.
- I not only prayed, but I Listened for God’s Guidance more than ever!
- After I prayed, I was intentional to listen for my answer, and I had an expectancy to receive what I had prayed for. I had an ongoing dialogue with God throughout the day through prayer. I had faith that He would help me function at my highest level for the purpose of helping others and give me the strength to begin a new passage of life that was foreign to me.
- I took it as a Training Experience to Help Others going through the same.
- I realized that overcoming these obstacles would qualify me to help others going through the same in the future, and used myself as that litmus test, and that inspired me!
- I reminded myself that What I was Going Through was Universal.
- I was not the only one and in fact, I practiced being grateful because so many go through so much worse! I was employed, loved, and had the things I needed! When all else failed, I would walk outside and look at the sky and realize this world was so much bigger than my little world and anything with God was possible!