By Beth Pinyerd
I love the way the Opelika community celebrates the good old summertime, even embracing the typical quick and fleeting rain showers.
As I look at young children squeal in delight as they play in the puddles that are amde, I realize young children teach us so much about expressing joy in the middle of a storm. Vivian Green coins it just right: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
In having sit and chat and learning times with my senior friends, we have talked quite frankly about how to get through tough times. Many of my senior friends have been caregivers of spouses, lost their spouses and maybe children. Too, they may have endured health challenges as well as historical world events such as the Great Depression and World War II. My elderly friends have walked and experienced the road of life. They share that rough times and pain are a part of life and love and that it helps you to grow!
Here are a few tips that my senior friends shared with me in order to get through the valleys and tough times of life:
When tough times happen, admit how you are feeling – don’t hide or bury your feelings when you are going through tough times. I reflect back on a time in my life when the school I was teaching in for so many years closed. The school, students and parents had been my life and love for years. I kept denying my feelings of loss over the closing of the school. I tried to bury the hurt feelings. My pastor discerned that I was hurting. His wise advice to me was to take time to actually go to my classroom I had taught in for so many years and grieve. His suggestion helped me so very much that I allowed myself to cry and grieve over a passage in my life and over something which I did not have control. It took a few months, but after taking time and admitting the hurt feelings that I had to the Lord and close friends, things got better. I was able to move on.
Loss of a loved one, loss of a job or loss of a way of life can bring on uncertain emotional feelings which require time for us to grieve in order to be whole and move on. God has made us this way.
Each of us handle tough times in our lives differently according to the way God made us. Talking to close friends and family about your concerns and fears will help you to better understand what you may be going through and too, friends and family who have gone through similar tough times can shed light and perspective on what you might need. Sometimes our biggest fears of concern don’t really exist when folks who love us give us advice and comfort because they care.
Having a good mindset and attitude as you walk through hard times gives you hope as you walk through challenging times. One suggestion that was given from the hearts of my Senior friends is to focus on inspirational quotes and humor. Some quotes I wanted to share are:
“ I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” -Benjamin Franklin.
“ Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” -John Lennon
“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” -Christopher Reeve.
Accept help from other people, family and friends. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. Accept blessings from other people. When going through tough times, we need to give up control, ask for help and accept help from others and receive help and understanding with grace.
Pain is a part of life and love. Tough times, even though they may not be welcome, help us to grow. When we have grown through tough times and valleys, this equips us to outreach to others who are going through tough times. With the Greater Generation, they have been through many tough situations and they are able to offer wisdom and mentor the younger generations.
With tough times in our lives, we can have hope. We hear the “old saying” “This too, shall pass.” As summertime rolls on, one thing that we see quite often after a summer storm is a rainbow. When we go through tough times in our lives, we can expect to see a rainbow and be encouraged that tough times teach us life lessons and that life does go on.
Live in the present. Truly each day is a gift from God. Always look forward to the future.