AND THEN… LIFE HAPPENED
If there is one thing that I’ve come to realise, is that life passes quickly. It feels like just yesterday that my daughter was born – today she is a wonderful mom. It’s just the other day I went to school for the first time – today I’m a grandpa.
Being able to live life to the fullest is privilege and precious, but this same precious life is also very unpredictable and fragile. I’ve experienced the ebb and flow of life. I know what it is to lose everything and start all over again; to have in abundance, and not knowing where your next meal is going to come from. I know what it is when there are many people supporting you, but also when you are alone in this world. I understand the joy of having a job, and how it feels to be unemployed. I know how it feels to celebrate life, and what it is to give up to a point where you decide to end it all.
Between 2006-2012, I went through a divorce, lost both my parents, was abandoned by people I use to be close with, was unemployment for 3 years, lost all financial means, and lost my faith and trust in God and in humankind. This caused me to experience fear, anger, shame, uncertainty, blaming others, withdrawing from society, feeling worthless and giving up by losing hope.
THE BEST DECISION YOU CAN MAKE
But there is good news, because this same life that knocks us over, that takes the wind out of our sails, also offers second chance. You just need to believe it and grab it! Therefore, the best decision I made when life happened, was to realise that I need to stop feeling sorry for myself, because becoming a victim of circumstances has never served anyone or has brought any positive outcomes, solutions or growth. Yes, there need to be a time for mourning and to grapple with what has happened, but there need to come a time for you to say: “It has happened. It is what it is! I’m going to stand up and grow through it.”
This decision changed my life and it can change your life as well! You just need to ask yourself: “How does it serve me to remain a victim? How does it serve me not to forgive? How does it serve me not to break free from the past? How does it serve me not to decide to get up, deal with the ordeal, grow through it and start celebrating what life has to offer?”
THE POWER OF RESILIENCE
I know that people deal differently with trauma. Yet over time people adapt to life changing situations. What enables them to do so? It’s called resilience.
Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of hardship, trauma, tragedy and significant sources of stress. It is the art of bouncing back (or rather bouncing forward) from a difficult experience. Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, and people commonly demonstrate resilience. Can you remember a time when someone pressed your head beneath the water? You instinctively started to fight to get back to the surface. Your survival mode kicked in and probably saved you. Resilience is part of our DNA, it is part of who we are.
Being resilient does not mean that you don’t have distress or emotional pain. The road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress but remember that resilience is part of your makeup. It is who you are, and this gives you a second chance in life. Therefore, there is always hope and answers, but it remains a choice to be resilient and go over into action. I will experience difficulties and emotional pain when life happens, but I won’t remain lying down – I WILL GET UP, LEARN FROM IT, MOVE ON, PAY IT FORWARD AND START TO CELEBRATE THIS WONDERFUL LIFE!
And this I did after I cried, blamed, shouted, sweared for a whole weekend in October 2012. The pain of the previous 6 year was so immense. It was like a dam wall that broke. But that Sunday evening at 19:45, whilst lying outside on the patio with tears flowing freely, and experiencing God’s presence so intense, I made the decision: “I will get up, learn from it, move on, pay it forward and start to celebrate this wonderful life!” You too can do this. You just need to make the decision.
WAYS TO BUILD RESILIENCE
But how do you start this process of getting up and moving forward? I realised that I needed to become aware of the power of resilience and work purposefully towards a positive outcome and personal growth. The next pointers assisted me in doing so:
- Accept the situation I’m in: “IT IS WHAT IT IS!”
- With tenacity I need to believe that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. History is full of powerful testimonies of people who were knocked down, but because of their resilience, they persevered. This now is my story too.
- I need to fully commitment myself to the process by saying and believing: “I WILL BOUNCE FORWARD!” Embrace change, because I only grow during hard times.
- ACCEPT THE EMOTION that I experience and work through them. Ask for help when needed.
- Don’t underestimate my thought processes, because “I AM WHAT I THINK”. My thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The question is if they will serve or limit me in the process of bouncing forward?
- Tap into my sources of inner-strength and faith.
My life is a testimony of second chances and what it is to bounce forward. This didn’t come easy, but I made the choice to be happy, to forgive, to ask for forgiveness, to let go of the past, to uncover my true purpose, to believe the best of people, and to start living life to the fullest.
Today I can say that my faith has been restored, that I have a fulfilling job, was able to pay my debt, and that I’ve uncovered my purpose in life – rebuilding broken wall in peoples lives who need second chances. We now have started the process of making this dream a reality by establishing a movement of life centers across SA to help rebuild broken communities.
But the best is that God has blessed me with the most wonderful Princes in my life and she will always be a symbol to me of God’s grace and of second chances that life offered me. We’re now engaged to me married.
What a blessing life is! You just need to believe it and make the right choices to live life to the fullest.