When suffering profound loss, thinking and dreaming about the future is the furthest thing from your mind. In this week’s podcast, I talk about how I’m facing my future, while living through hard times…
When I was a kid, I was swimming in the deep end of the pool. As I attempted to come out of the waters, another kid decided to play a cruel prank on me. As I made my way up the ladder, I suddenly found resistance. This kid stood on top of my shoulders, pinning me underneath the waters. I panicked as I struggled to resurface and breathe. I was worried I might drown. And in a moment of terror, trying to free myself, I punched him in a pretty sensitive area. Needless to say, he got off my shoulders and I was finally able to make it out of the waters and breathe a gasp of air.
As I talked about in my podcast episode from last week, I have recently suffered a major loss in my life. My wife left me and we are in the process of getting a divorce.
Since becoming separated from my wife a couple months ago, I’ve been very busy. Busy responding to the demands of the moment. Moment after moment there is yet another demand. Sign this and that legal document. Packing boxes. Selling the house. Dividing our assets. Finding a new place to live. Moving. Going to counseling. Connecting with family and friends. Doing everything I can to survive the moment.
In many ways, it feels like I’m drowning.
Dreaming About The Future?
Yet, with all this going on, people have innocently asked me what I plan on doing in the next year or two, and what my future dreams are regarding the future. They ask me questions about buying a house, what I plan to do regarding dating and marriage, and the possibility of kids.
Such questioning obviously comes from well meaning people. But honestly, the future isn’t something I can even begin to think about. I’m a bit overwhelmed with the present moment, and I feel like I’m constantly fighting for my very next breath of air. Getting through the day is hard enough, and dreaming is simply a luxury I don’t presently have time for.
I think that’s something we all experience whenever we face tragedy and loss. We feel like our life is stuck in a holding pattern. It feels like someone hit the pause button on our lives, and we seem stuck, frozen in time. We live for the moment, as if the sun has suddenly stood still, in a sort of eternal now.
Such is a difficult time. To think of the future would be to tie an anchor to your ankles and throw yourself into the sea. And as much as I’d like to think of the future, I find myself only able to think of the present moment, to do whatever is necessary in the right now.
And that’s okay. As much as we need to be motivated by our dreams, sometimes we simply need to focus on the moment, and whatever we can do to get to the next step, as we take things day by day.
Someone recently shared the following piece of advice with me. It really spoke to my situation, and I thought I’d share it with you all, and whatever trial you are facing.
Wisdom About The Future
My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future
or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
Advance step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Take another step.
And then another.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.~Elena Mikhalkova