Sometimes I’m not okay. Today is one of those days. And for anyone else having one of these days, I want you to join me in this. I do not want you to run away or hide, or pretend you are fine when you are not. No. All I want is for you to be right here, right now, at this moment. I want you to be here, with me. I want you to be okay with the fact that right now you’re just not okay. And that is, that is perfectly okay.
It is weird when it comes. You know what I am talking about…the wave. It crashes over you. Out of nowhere. It is all-consuming. It feels never-ending. I guess calling it a wave does not really accurately describe it, does it? I suppose it is less of a wave and more of a tsunami. But either way, it crashes over you. And when it crashes, it crashes hard. When it hits, you can’t breathe. You have always been a good swimmer, but suddenly you can’t even float. Everything’s happening so fast. The world is spinning. And all you can seem to do is try your best not to drown.
Whether today you have been hit by a wave or a tsunami. Whether the hit was one of depression or anxiety. Whatever the form, no matter the hit, you are here. And being here is an incredibly painful place to be.
It is probably hard to take a look around at this place, considering you can barely keep your face above the water. But if you manage to tread the water long enough to take a breath, please also take a look around. Because what you’ll see, is something you desperately need to find.
And for those of you who aren’t able to look around. Or those of you whose vision is clouded from all the wreckage of the storm, I am going to let you in on what this sight is that I am talking about. When you look around, what you will find is people. What you’ll find is what you need. You need people. You need these people. Some of them are just like you, and others vastly different. But we all come with at least one thing in common, and that is this: we have all found ourselves here.
Of course, here looks a little different for all of us. And the way we got here is a lot different for most of us. But nonetheless, we are here. And we are here, together.
“Big deal,” you may be thinking. Ahhh, but you see, my friend, you are missing the point. The point is, you are not alone here. Not by a long shot. Here, is actually incredibly crowded. We are just all so often consumed by our own natural disasters, that we do not even recognize we are not in this by ourselves.
You see, we are all much more alike than we are different. And there is unbelievably great power in realizing that. Our waves, our tsunamis…they try to blind us. They want to isolate us. They are deceptive. Because as long as they can keep us focused on our current misery, we won’t be focused on the healing power of togetherness.
Because that is what a lot of this misery is all about, isn’t it? That empty feeling. The feeling of being utterly alone in this world. When no matter how many people you are surrounded by, you have never felt quite as alone.
The beauty I’m trying to get at here is that we are only as alone as we choose to be. And we are only as miserable as we allow ourselves to be. Now do not get me wrong. It is no easy task to embrace the here. Actually, being here is, quite frankly, painful as hell. But it is amidst the greatest pain, that the greatest joy is revealed to us.
So as long as you are here, make the most of it. Take it all in. For all that it is. Certainly, there are places we would all rather be. But you’ve arrived here because there is something about this place that you need to be near. The meaning of being here is unique to each of us. The climb out of the here and into the now will look different for us all. Nevertheless, we are here. Aren’t we?
If there is one thing I’ve learned as I write to you from here, it’s that joy isn’t found in the circumstances. I know this…because although I am here, and although the wave has turned into a tsunami. Although my world is spinning, and my legs are tired from treading the water. Although the here is far from what I would imagine to be an ideal circumstance. Despite it all, when I finally worked up the courage to open my eyes here, I saw light. I saw you all amongst me. I watched as the more I accepted being here, the smaller the waves got. And as I was taking in the scenery of the here, I looked down to realize I was no longer kicking rapidly to stay afloat, but my feet were firm against solid land. And then I looked up, and the clouds began to separate to reveal the sun. And I started to smile…and I began to feel the joy. The joy I thought would only be found outside of the here. And yet….here I am. Full of joy in the midst of this labyrinth of confusion and uncertainty.
There are endless things we cannot control in this world. The world will take and take. We will find ourselves in situations we never asked for, and in circumstances we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemies. We may even arrive at this current place, we might even be here. But please my friends, don’t fear. Because even where you are, no matter where you may be. There is joy. There is joy, even here. There is joy, especially….here.