how to be when things go wrong – even horribly wrong
Right now so many of us are feeling that things are going horribly wrong. Millions of people are hurting. It’s hard not to focus on what isn’t working. What’s not going our way. We get riled up and where our focus goes, energy follows.
Whether it’s disasters of a global scale, problems in your neighborhood, or faults you see in yourself or others, at times the world can seem to be crumbling around you.
Even when things are mostly great – things will appear to go wrong.
On the day of my first wedding we got someone else’s cake. Some poor bride was missing her three level fruit cake with orange lucite pillars and icing flowers of every color. She was stuck with my white on white with chocolate inside.
When buying our house in Washington, we were informed at the last minute on the closing day that we couldn’t get a mortgage because of my legal status. When I went up to begin renovations, the furnace wasn’t working, during the coldest winter they’d had in years. When we finished restoring the old handmade cabinets, the new hinges weren’t strong enough to hold them up. It took over a month to track new ones down from different places.
In my 30’s an illness crippled me with pain and fatigue, and changed the whole direction of the life I passionately loved.
Each time things didn’t go as planned, blessings came in different ways.They often didn’t come right away, but they always came. Things I couldn’t have expected.
It doesn’t mean I didn’t get bummed out, or feel hurt or angry or sad. But as soon I would breathe, feel my feet on the ground, and become present again, I could feel the immensity of life and the smallness of my plans. The vastness of the unknown, and the limitations of what I believed “should” happen.
What I’ve discovered over and over again is that each time something goes “wrong”, even “horribly wrong”, I can choose to see it as a divine diversion and a opportunity to let love shine.
In Anthem, Leonard Cohen sings, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Whether the business you’ve poured your heart into is failing, your lover left you, you’ve just been told you have a terminal illness, or the people in power are acting in inexplicable ways, life will be chaotic and scary at times. It feels like the cracks are growing and your world is crumbling. Even your best plans can’t save you.
But the crack, isn’t just a problem. The crack is also an opening. It’s how the light gets in.
When we got someone else’s wedding cake, we laughed, stuck a fake nose and glasses in it, took our pictures, and danced around it. Friends, new neighbors, and even strangers stepped in to help us with each problem in our new house. In turn, I stayed open, grateful and in awe of the love. In my illness that devoured the world I loved, I discovered a different, more authentic way to live, and a deeper part of myself I’d never known.
You see the crack isn’t just how the light gets in. It’s also how the light gets out. There’s a light shining bright in me and you. And the times when things go wrong, we make mistakes, or we only see others’ faults, are all opportunities to let that light shine.
The world is full of cracks right now, so focus on the light. There is plenty of it.
Let it shine on you.
Accept the good in others. Let people support you when you’re scared and sad. Ask for help.
When you don’t see the light, Let it shine out of you.
Be kind to everyone, starting with yourself. Feel your pain, release your pain, without taking it out on others. Be engaged. Stay curious. Accept people who have different beliefs, or voted for someone else. Embrace those who look, act and speak differently. The light will reflect off of others and soon you’ll be bathing in it.
Be courageous enough, in these tough times, to Love.