Having hard times seem like falling in a well of absolute darkness; and that with each passing day you are sinking deeper and deeper. You find it hard to sleep and even breathe. You spend time crippled by anxiety to the point of immobilization.
Life is fragile. Hard times are inevitable. At one time or another, we all go through a difficult time, whether sickness, catastrophe, crisis, or relational breakdown.
In those times, we need each other more than ever, but it is not just enough to be surrounded by people. We, as supporters, need to be educated to love our friends and family through tough times.
Silence speaks louder than words misspoken. Do not ignore them. Plain and simple. If you do not know what to say, do not avoid them. Say something.
90% of what you could say is better than saying nothing at all. Listen. Let them be honest. Let them be angry. Let them be whatever they need to be, and resist the urge to fix them or heal them. Just be with them.
Listen, love, give. Give time, energy, resources … give yourself. Just do not give advice when they have not asked.
The wisest, most loving, and well rounded people you will ever meet are likely those who have known misery, known defeat, known the heartbreak of losing something or someone they loved, and have found their way out of the depths of their own despair.
These people have experienced many ups and downs, and have gained an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, understanding and a deep loving wisdom. People like this are not born; they develop slowly over the course of time.
‘The World is against me,’ he said with a sigh.
‘Somebody stops every scheme that I try.
‘What of Abe Lincoln?’ I asked. ‘Would you say
That he was much richer than you are to-day?
He hadn’t your chance of making his mark,
And his outlook was often exceedingly dark;
Yet he clung to his purpose with courage most grim
And he got to the top. Was the World against him?’
‘What of Ben Franklin? I’ve oft heard it said
That many a time he went hungry to bed.
He started with nothing but courage to climb,
But patiently struggled and waited his time.
He dangled awhile from real poverty’s limb,
Yet he got to the top. Was the World against him?’
‘I could name you a dozen, yes, hundreds, I guess,
Of poor boys who’ve patiently climbed to success;
All boys who were down and who struggled alone,
Who’d have thought themselves rich if your fortune they’d known;
Yet they rose in the World you’re so quick to condemn,
And I’m asking you now, was the World against them?’
Edgar Albert Guest
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must – but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
John Greenleaf Whittier or Edgar Albert Guest
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to Earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there – that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight – and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the World of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
Edmund Vance Cooke