Years ago, I sat in the office of my new employer, watching her softly creased face as she recited the expectations of my new job. She paused for a moment and looked me in the eye. “There will be times you can’t make it to work, when something beyond your control occurs. Remember, there’s always someone here to take your place, to help. Because sometimes, life happens.”
She was right. Life happens. I’d seen it many times in my own life. Family sickness, accidents, death. I’d felt one too many times the effects of life’s happenings. And to be honest, I didn’t always handle it well.
I wasn’t the type of person to let everything slide off me, though that’s what most people thought. No, I hid my feelings well, letting them fester inside, until I became depressed and angry, stopped eating, or just slid away from the world. But usually, I overdid everything – work, housecleaning, cooking.
Like when my father got sick, I worked harder than ever, cooking for him, doing his paperwork, running to see him every day. And when my mom was ill, I worked extra hours at my job. I started a new business before my dad passed away, and then worked more than ever after his death, ignoring the pain in my heart.
It might be safe to say I wanted to prove myself. Mostly, I think I was trying to hide.
But this woman in front of me, who’d seen more pain than I ever had, was so confident, so quietly assured, and reminded me that often, “Life happens.” There was a soft sadness in her voice when she spoke, even as her eyes sparkled like gems beneath the sun. She spoke calmly as she stated, “Bad things happen to all of us.”
I wondered what heartache she’d felt, what blows life had dealt her. I wondered if she’d ever run away the way I had, or hid behind hours of work. I wondered how she’d turned years of sorrow into a lifetime of joy.
A lot of life has happened since I first met that woman. I’ve had my own share of life’s happenings since then. My biggest was my brain injury. That injury taught me a lot about how to face life, that ignoring the pain, or trying to hide, doesn’t make the sorrow go away.
It taught me to face life head-on, to look for the hidden jewels inside the sand. It taught me that life is a series of lessons, of joy in pain, of beauty in grief.Life happens. It always does. It’s what we do with it that matters. Click To Tweet