EVERYBODY HURTS SOMETIMES. The R.E.M. song re-recorded by Helping Haiti rekindles the fabulous truth that every human being feels every now and then; a sense of loneliness, vulnerability and desperation, perhaps as a response to grief in life.
There are three life-periods we can ‘throw our hands,’ but the song, I believe, was only targeting one of these:
We’re tempted to give up in our moments really quite frequently. Things overwhelm us relatively easily. Much of the time we don’t even know what has taken the wind from our sails. These times it’s probably due a combination of little annoying and frustrating factors.
Developing momentary resilience is about identifying all the annoying or challenging factors of our torpor and one by one, exercise reason over them. Chances are if we’re reasonable we’ll see each of these things individually for what they are; that is minor in the scheme of things.
If things really get too much, sure, it maybe time to just escape for the rest of that day, to recover.
The intenseness of this sort of period is over a month or two, or perhaps six or twelve at most—though the pain of such a period is generally life-transforming. We’re tempted to give up “seasonally” because something major breaks in. We lose a loved one or a familial relationship ends in some way. Something significant has ended and there’s naturally a period of adjustment to make. This is grief at its most poignant.
Yet the temptation to give up should eventually be overcome, though we will have days when we will simply give up. This is okay. In fact, it’s necessary occasionally.
Developing seasonal resilience is about hope. Where there’s life there’s hope, right? It might seem that things are never going to get better, but in reality they will. We may not know this but real spiritual hope is about holding out for things we simply cannot see, but we still hope for. So long as our hopes are realistic they’re achievable. In this way it is entirely right for us to hold out, hoping in life returning emotionally “normal” eventually, whatever that is.
This is tragic, yet we see different forms of it around us all the time. At the worst extreme is suicide. This leaves those remaining with, many times, irreconcilable feelings as to what went wrong. Our hearts truly go out to them. Everybody Hurts actually targeted, originally, teen suicide.
But people just as easily give up in a life-lasting way because they can’t or don’t deal well with the seasonal grief that comes. They enter a lifelong season of denial.
People in this area have literally entered hell on earth, for their grasp on and their desire for truth has left them.
And yet, anyone at any time can literally convert this issue back into a seasonal grief i.e. see it that way, and venture into hope. They’ve got nothing to lose by doing this, and almost everything to gain.
Understanding that everybody hurts in life sometimes is good. It helps us understand that it’s normal, and that grieving appropriately needs to be a very common experience and response in life. In reality we should learn how to grieve well as kids, then life would not be so hard.
In this way it’s actually ‘cruel to be kind’ when we allow the “fullness” of life hurts to hit us and our kids so we and they can learn to grapple with feelings and give them the hearing they deserve. In a supportive environment, nothing beats this. This is how resilience is developed and grown to maturity.
In life, we all give up from time to time. The better and more resilient we can teach ourselves to be—and a reliance on God is often central—the less frequent these times will be and their magnitude won’t be as great.
And a joyousness regarding life naturally fills any of the remaining void!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.