“It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.”—Eeyore
It has been a week. I can’t remember when, in the course of a holiday weekend, I have seen so much sadness and pain and frustration and disappointment. I’m not sure if it’s the moon in its phases, or life is just hard with all that is expected of us. Kids back in school, football teams winning and losing or financial issues that seem to plague even the most stable of families, or kids gone bad and parents are at wits end.
Life is hard—I know you know that—and, although we don’t dwell on that fact, it is what is it is, so now what are we going to do?
I am concerned about the sadness and disappointment that I see in so many of my friends and acquaintances, and it’s everything from emotional to mental to physical, and the pain is real.
As I speak around the country, and as I meet people at my book signings, I have repeatedly wondered what the underlying cause of such pain is, and I keep coming back to three ideas.
It’s sadness, stemming from grief or loss, or disappointment about life and one’s expectations, or it is true physical pain caused by injury.
So today I want to talk about your outlook on life and the pain you are putting yourself through to justify your sadness and disappointment, which is rooted (I believe) in expectations. Physical pain is different, so it is not part of my discussion for today.
I titled my talk, It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine, and that is from the Winnie-the-Pooh story as said by ever-sad Eeyore. Although not my favorite character, he does have some good one-liners and today’s message is perhaps his best line, because in the midst of it all I want to encourage you to remember that, no matter what you’re going through, it never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.
I am sure there are many reasons that one could find to be sad today, but what I see is a constant low hum of emotional emptiness that just simmers until one breaks. If you find yourself sad for more than a few weeks, I encourage you to find medical help. Your doctor can help you, but you have to do your part and go see them.
If you know you don’t have a medical issue, then you really need to set aside some time to figure out what has happened that has so thrown you for a loop that you’re staring into the darkness with no desire to turn on the light. Friend, if that is you, you need to walk the issue back and figure out when this started, what happened and how you’re going to find help to move forward to heal your heart and find peace…so you can get back on track now!
If you have suffered the loss of a friend or family member (or even a pet), sadness is understandable for a time, but anything longer is not. So let’s reset the clock for what is acceptable for recovery and then start to make small steps to find yourself again. Remember, your job is to look for the sunshine; not continue to block it out.
Now for those of you who know what has happened, but you’re unwilling to deal with it because it’s your exquisite pain, it’s what you cling to, it’s your badge of sadness so you let it fester to make you and everyone around you miserable, so you’re the center of the universe of miserableness…that is ridiculous, and you need to grow up and get on with life and stop being such a loser. The fact is, if you want, you can heal your heart at any time. Nothing is holding you back but your pride—now that is sad. You do know you are not meant to be sad—it is not who you are. It might be who you have become, but it is not you, and you have to do the hard work of finding your joy in life again, even though sadness or grief or loss has happened.
And you know that those who have passed on don’t want your tears—they want you to go on and do the things you had planned. They want you to enjoy the life that you built together; they want you to find joy and happiness and peace. They are at peace. Now you need to find your peace and settle the hurt and sadness in your heart. You need to do this work for you and others who care about you. Some of you are leaving your best years empty, because you are choosing to be sad. It’s easier than the hard work of looking for the sunshine, but let me remind you that the warmth of sunshine and the light that it gives…will…if you let it…relight your soul and spirit, and that is what those who have gone on want for you.
I’m always surprised that so many people are disappointed in life. You didn’t start out that way, but here is where you’re ending up, and it’s not good. For many, disappointment is a self-imposed limiting belief that something out of your control has made your life miserable. Friend, it is foolish to think you can control the universe to meet your demands and expectations—that is not what life is about—and when you let the disappointments of life set you back for days, or months or (for some listening today) years, you are wasting the gift of life that God has ordained for you.
Ah, friend, He has the whole world in His hands. He knows your name and He knows your broken heart, but—please hear me—you must pull yourself together and get on with the living of life while you’re still on this earth; that is the least you can do to honor the one who created you.
No doubt life can throw you a hardball that will blow you back from the base, but you have to make the choice. The easy one is to walk away from the game and whine about your circumstances (and just so you know, we’re over your sad-sack Eeyore moaning and groaning). The hard choice is to step into the box and swing for the lights with all that is within you—with all that you could be—with all your strength and might.
You’re not a loser—you’re not even the losing type—that’s not who you are. No, you’re better than that, or you used to be, but if you are not careful you’re going to lose your edge and then you’ll be in a worse spot than you are in today. Friend, keep looking for the sunshine. You need to get that fire in the belly to get you back into the game, and I don’t care if you’re sick, tired or broke—tell me someone who isn’t. All I care about is your success for a lifetime.
And let me say one more thing to remind you to stop wasting your energy and joy in life because your kids aren’t doing what you had hoped for (kids nowadays are crazy and your best bet is to cover them in prayer); or your spouse has walked out (I know that has got to hurt—emotionally, financially and even physically the loss of a once loving partner); or your heart is broken (whether in one piece or a thousand, the pain is real, no denying that); or you didn’t get what you thought you deserved; or you didn’t receive the reward, the recognition, the respect that was owed. Yes, all these hurts are real, but you are stronger, wiser; more knowledgeable now than you were before, so why are you wasting the gift of a second chance when you can change, re-direct, re-discover or discover your purpose in life?
Before you say, “Well, Deb, you just don’t understand,” stop, because I’m not going to let you off that easy. Let’s face it, no one (on this earth) will really ever understand the depth of your sadness or disappointment—let’s settle that one now—and now that you know that, what are you going to do about tomorrow or the next day and the day after that?
Let me remind you that it never hurts to keep looking for sunshine…
Listen, I know that today I am hard on you. I am well aware my message is hard, especially if you’re hurting. I don’t want to add to your troubles—really, I don’t—but I want you to remember that all you have is 1,140 minutes today and tomorrow and, I assume, the next day. What I need you to understand is that the time for you to get past your sadness and disappointment is now, and every day you lose is a day you’ll not get back to change your life, and that would be sad and disappointing.