Everyone Loses Their Way
There are many periods in our lives that can be like a smooth sail. The sun can radiate so brightly in the sky and the blue waters can be so serene and the pleasant winds can billow just enough to listlessly move us along in the right direction. If the ways were always sunny and the days were always breezy and we could always see a clear and chartered course ahead of us things would be so much simpler. But the sea is neither stable nor consistent; it is vigorous and it is unpredictable. As promising and as cooperative the conditions in our life can be at times, they can also be shockingly harsh and completely unexpected.
Like a storm cloud that suddenly appears across the horizon, difficult times will darken our skies and break into our quiet calm with a rolling crack of thunder. Whether it is in the shape of a person, an event, a tragedy, a failure, an unexpected inability to love oneself or any other hit we may take, we’ll all face our own storm. These storms engulf us in churning, choppy waters and howling winds that shake our very existence and simultaneously threaten to capsize us before we even have time to baton down the hatches. They try to break our spirit and they leave us clutching on to the wheel with every little bit of strength that we can muster.
The sea is neither stable nor consistent; it is vigorous and it is unpredictable.
Some storms will hit us so hard that we won’t be able to recognize ourselves after they pass. These storms can send us tumbling off into unexpected places, way off of our chartered course, suddenly alone and lost at sea. When we’re lost at sea after a storm, it can seem so difficult to find the strength to move forward or even get up — especially when it feels like we have no idea where we are or where we’re meant to go now. When we’re lost at sea and no longer on our well-chartered course, it can be so easy to give up on or blame ourselves or to stop believing that we can finish the journey we originally set out on. We might even question why we even went on the journey in the first place.
There is so much more to this journey than the pain you feel now. Your final act has not been written yet. This is only the beginning of what you will later look back on as an extraordinary and remarkable chapter. Just because you’ve stumbled off course and lost your way, it doesn’t mean you’re lost forever. The human spirit is powerful. If we can still breathe, we can still hope. Take a deep breath and remember that you still have hope. Remind yourself of why you set out on this journey in the first place. Learn to accept what has happened to you and accept the responsibility you now have to put yourself back on course and continue your journey. All the difficult times you face can take away many things but they can never take away the potential for greatness in you.
If we can still breathe, we can still hope.
Sometimes we all need a little help to find our way back. In the darkest of nights and when dangerous waters threaten to throw us back off course, a single beacon of light in the dark can often be the only thing to guide us. A lighthouse on a distant shore. Many people who have lost their way often find their way back because of one person who stood and continued to shine brightly with an incorruptible hope. Whether it was through the words they said, a consistent and comforting presence or a rooted belief that we were much more than what we thought we were at the time, the light these people lit for us safely guided us back from the dark.
A single light in the night can be all someone needs to find their way back. You never know how much someone might be depending on one lighthouse to lead them home. Keep shining as bright as you can until the dawn comes. It’s easy to be the person who sees someone off their course and chooses to add criticisms or cynicisms to the storm they’re in. Shine brightly. Even when the night is long, keep shining and believe in them and the person they are or can become. Show them the better path they still have ahead of them even when they can’t seem to see it themselves.
Keep shining as bright as you can until the dawn comes.
Perhaps there is a reason these storms come and knock us off our course. If we only ever followed the well-worn path, would we really be on our own journey or would we merely be drifting from one point to another? Storms force us to carve our own path. They test our strength and make us grow. We can never learn to find our way back if we never get lost. There is much more wisdom and strength to be gained from using a compass to find our bearings and sense of direction in a storm than following a chartered path on a map and sailing in calm waters. Don’t give up and don’t give in because after this storm passes, you will rise up greater than you ever were before. Remember, the most beautiful views often come after the worst of storms.