December 27, 2017

Beauty From Ashes. New Year, New Hope.

"Meaningless, meaningless. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless under the sun. What do people gain from all of their labors at which they toil under the sun? I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, all are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. " Ecclesiasties 1

Does anything really matter

Since Hurricane Harvey, I have been thinking a lot about these words from King Solomon in the Christian scriptures. It's a bit nihilistic, but nihilism comes easily in the wake of such quick destruction. A house that may have taken years to build was flooded in a matter of hours. All of the time spent choosing paint colors and fixtures and displaying art, all became irrelevant in a matter of hours. Possessions you spent a lifetime collecting and curating are flooded, soiled, swelled up, gone. When you go through something like that, a natural reaction is to ask, what's the point? Does any of it matter? What is really important to me?

Home being torn down after flooding during Harvey

Getting from sorrow to hope

It is easy to lose hope. So, what keeps you going? What gives you the motivation to rebuild, to keep living, to keep fighting? How can you get to a place of joy from a place of sorrow? Why bother when it will all turn to ashes? It will all end up in a landfill.

The debris of a home torn down after the flood

Joy is deeper and sweeter because you have seen suffering and loss

Many of you who have gone through painful experiences in life have learned that there can be joy even at the end of a very difficult season of life. And you may have found that your joy is deeper and sweeter because you have seen what it means to suffer and to experience loss.

Tomorrow brings wholeness and healing

Crystal Lewis has a song entitled "Beauty for Ashes." I love the redemptive message in the lyrics.
"He gives beauty for ashes. Strength for fear. Gladness for mourning. Peace for despair. When sorrow seems to surround you. When suffering hangs heavy on your head. Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing." Sometimes there has to be destruction before there can be rebuilding both literally and metaphorically.

This time of year, people start thinking about the new year and new year's resolutions. But for some of you, life is more about surviving. The idea of adding a resolution feels overwhelming. It is okay to feel down. It is a normal reaction to hard things. Be compassionate with yourself. You have had a hard year. You have survived a hard year in the best way you are able. That is enough.

Be compassionate and you will find good enough is good enough

When you don't have hope, remind yourself that even when you don't feel it, life will get better. We know from our history that after the rain, there is sun. After the sun sets, it also rises. It is just the cyclical nature of life. Believe in that cycle even when you don't feel it to be true. Lean into the hope.

People who love you will be light in your darkness

And when you don't have hope for yourself, surround yourself with people in your life who lift you up. Surround yourself with people who speak encouragement into your life. Surround yourself with people who support you and get you and love you. They will be the light you need in your darkness.

Choose hope. Choose to keep trying again tomorrow. 

Lean in to 2018 with hope that in this new year, there is new life. There is always hope. Be compassionate when you struggle with the hard times. All of the individual moments of life are not going to be good, but we can find meaning by choosing to love and care for those who need us. We can find meaning by fighting to do the things we are created to do. We can choose hope, we can choose life as long as there is breath in our bodies.

May 2018 bring you beauty from ashes, strength from fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If you are struggling to find hope in your life, Wilson Counseling has Houston-area counselors who can help you. Please contact Wilson Counseling by phone at 713 - 591 - 3612 or via email at Nancy @ wilsoncounsleing. org.