When You Are Going Through Hell

It seemed to come out of nowhere. Life flung a wild pitch that took me down. Once knocked to the ground I was pelted with curve balls, sliders and various other painful pitches.

We’ve all have had a bad day or bad week. Ever had a bad year? The past two years have had some bright moments, but overall I would give them a D-. I lived to tell so I can’t quite assign an F.

I am a creature of habit; isn’t everyone? With no conscious thought to the effects of being pummeled by life, my brain adapted to the D- life. My new normal was so rooted in D- that I barely remembered A- and B+.

It is part of our survival instinct. If you walk into the kitchen for a drink of water but find the room engulfed in flames you don’t open a cabinet and take out a glass. Survival mode has no room for thinking about how to get back to A- or B+.

Thank you, Winston Churchill

Recently, something amazing happened. It was as if a tiny but powerful speaker in my brain suddenly became blue-tooth connected to Winston Churchill, I remembered, “When you’re going through Hell keep on going.”

Waking up in Hell and deciding not to stay won’t transport one to carefree bliss. Steps must be taken. Another smart man named Robert Frost said, “The only way out is through.”

Feeling physically strong and being healthy will elevate that D- to at least a B. I am investing time with running and going to the gym and it is once again intentional and with purpose. I never completely stopped these activities during recovery from bunion surgery or when dealing with shingles. I can come up with all sorts of reasons to add to the list including getting older, but Hell loves excuses. I bet there are large gatherings in Hell where folks can talk about that sort of thing for eons. I don’t have time to slow down and have a chat over tea in Fire Lake, I am on my way out!

During my two year tour of duty I lost more than a few friends. Some walked away from me, I left some others behind. When you are at your lowest it becomes easier to see who your real friends are and who doesn’t have time to reach out a hand and help you back up. I was really blessed with two new friends that like me for who I am. I also had some family members that made the effort to connect with me and they are now some of the most important people in my life. Two other friends that have been with me for decades stayed as close as ever.

Sometimes we have to put things down simply because they are heavy.

As I wallowed in the crap that collects at the bottom of a D- life I also realized I had some unfinished business. I can’t say I was in denial or had repressed memories. It was more like the cucumber or zucchini that hides under the lettuce and behind the carrots in the vegetable drawer. It may not stink for a very long time, but it is always there, lurking around waiting for the worst possible moment to pop back into the front and spread it’s slimy stink over everything it touches.

I talked to a professional, dealt with the rotten stuff and left knowing that if I ever need to go back, I can and I will. It isn’t embarrassing, it is empowering.

Finally, I have given myself long overdue permission to speak my truth and call people out for their bad behavior. Me, the one that always feared getting into trouble, may just tick off a whole bunch of people when I no longer pretend that I am not offended or have hurt feelings. Oh well, that is just too bad.

When I encounter racism, rudeness and unfairness I won’t look the other way or pretend to not hear. I may not be able to change it, but I won’t ignore it. That is apt to make some people angry with me. Oh well!

Getting out of Hell may not take as long as I first thought it would. I may get evicted!

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