February 20

HOPE MONTH: DAY 20: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

As I wrote before, maturity and recovery show us how we deal with disappointment. It is something that every one of us will experience many times in the course of a day, week, month, year and lifetime. Over and over again. How well we navigate that shows us and the world around us who we are.

And we cannot allow life’s disappointing moments to discourage us or make us stop hoping for good things to happen in the future.

We all experience the death of family and friends, loved ones and acquaintances. Death is the only common thread we all share. One death may hit us more deeply than another. I am an animal lover and have been hit with the death of parents, cousins, my husband, many friends and acquaintances, several boyfriends, and an adopted child. These were difficult and painful, but so has been the loss of dozens of cats and dogs and other animals. I have had so many over the years, I do not know how many for sure. Some have been much more challenging to accept than others.

We all get these experiences. It is part of life, the biggest part. Whatever we can see with our eyes or our other senses is becoming closer to death all the time. Acceptance and hope go hand in hand. If I learn to accept well, there is always going to be a great amount of hope for me.

The thing that makes it all more painful or difficult is the idea that it  is personal. That we are the only ones who feel it, or that we feel it more than anyone else. While we may lose someone in a significant relationship, it is not necessary to quantify that feeling and compare it to another’s.

I lost a lot of people quite “young.” I am grateful for that experience, because it was unexpected for them to be gone at 13 or 15 or 17. It was so sad. I was so unprepared. My father died very “young,” and I was “too young” to know how to deal with that. It  prepared me for significant losses later in life, still “too young.” As if there is a determined amount of time we are here to receive or live.

People use these terms as if there is a set amount of time for a lifetime. We make this shit up and then try to get life to go by these terms. It never, ever works.  And yet, egos as big as the state of Alaska, we keep trying to make it happen. Then we are devastated by the “loss” we feel when our demands are not met.

Hope is NOT about forcing the Universe to spin according to our demands. It is all about how we crawl out from under the debris of our demands when life is what it is; and we are not able to meet it face-to-face because we do not know how to do that. Hope comes in when we are facedown in the wreckage of our will and are given a hand up that we did not even know could come.

THAT is what Step 2 is all about. We come to believe. Not right away.  Most of us spend some time trying to manipulate life to fit our demands; some never give up and never find any happiness, whether they are loaded or not. We begin to hope, then we do the work. Then we believe. It happens like that. But that initial hope is a beautiful thing. Life is short, so many people will die today. And most of them, sadly, never got a chance to really live. I hope it isn’t your story.

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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