The human body is constantly striving for homeostasis. We inherently try (without even recognizing it) to maintain an equal, steady, even-keeled, and most importantly safe state. Of course this is typically in reference to physiological processes literally keeping our bodies alive, but I also like to think it extends to our desired or preferred mental and emotional state at any given time. The problem therein is that we inevitably find ourselves banging up against the turmoil of this rough and tumble world in which we exist. And this, of course, creates anxiety, stress, and in extreme circumstances chaos or even disorders.
If you’re a regular reader of these monthly anecdotes and observations, you’re probably familiar with my story. I bounced off healthy living and reality for years. I suffered from self-inflicted wounds that on my own power just couldn’t manage to heal. The chains that bound me in my addiction fused into my skin until there was no feasible way to discern the man from the disease. It was a miserable life. And through it all was my constant longing for easier, better, challenge-free and hardship-free days.
As I sit here now – at the intersection of the ending of this challenging year and the promise of a new beginning in 2022 – I’m reminded of how much I’ve gained from those miserable days. How much strength was borne out of my forced internalization of the fact that healing and redemption lied in the community that I was surrounded by. That reliance on God and His principles – and His trusted servants that lifted me up – could lead to renewed life. I gained EVERYTHING in my life today from those trying times. Every meaningful principle, practice, and action-oriented step I take in my life today is completely and utterly informed by the struggle I endured.
At a certain point on our respective life paths, we must come to the conclusion that there will always be another challenge that lies ahead. They may not be as extreme as my example – but there will always be circumstances beyond our control that hold within them the potential to throw us into a tailspin rollercoaster of raging emotion. The constant, even-keeled promise of serene living is certainly attainable to a certain degree; but the expectation that it will remain forever as our base state is unrealistic. And that’s ok! Embrace the difficulty! It is completely normal to find yourself thrown off course from time to time – losing presence or peace in your life – it’s woven into the very core of our psyche. Nature favors adaption over perseverance. However, it is through these experiences that we gain immense insight into our respective reactions to life – it’s how we learn to change.
2021 proved to be just as challenging a year as the previous. The ongoing presence of Covid-19. Cultural and political turmoil. The looming, deadly threat of Fentanyl hanging over it all (the epidemic within the pandemic); there was certainly no shortage of stressors in our day-to-day lives, yet again. And just as certainly, more will inevitably come. As my father likes to remind me (borrowed from the U.S Navy Seals training facility): “The only easy day was yesterday.” And that’s perfectly fine friends – just another opportunity to rise to the challenge – affect change through struggle – and most importantly, place ourselves in a better position to help one another out.
I like to think of myself as just another regular guy. Some people find my story remarkable though – filled with hope, faith, and redemption. Be that person for someone else this year. Share your tough story, warts and all. Bring it into the light and show someone else how empowering the trying times will eventually be.
God bless you,
You can read, comment and ask questions for Sean to address in his blog on the PAL website, home page – www.Palgroup.org