MY LIST OF “GLIMPSES OF HOPE”

“Somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace”.

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love.

I had never, in my dreams, thought of penning down this experience of my life. But you know how God surprises you with those precious opportunities you never thought you could get? So I hope people will be kind and patient while reading this chapter of my life.

Glimpses of hope – this topic of Candles Online drives me back to the lane of my life where I was accompanied with a beloved friend of mine called “Depression”. I am sure every person reading this article has had a friend similar to mine, which proves that I am no extraordinary rather a normal person like all of you.

I do not remember the exact date but I can freshly remember the exact feeling. It was a Friday night, I was home alone, sitting on the floor of my bedroom and weeping unconditionally. Feet turned cold, wet cheeks, trembling hands and rapid thoughts crossing my mind leaving me numb on the floor. I heard a voice inside my head, asking me, “What makes you cry?” to which, “I have no clue” was my answer. Soon after that I patted my eyes and pressed them as hard as I could to stop my tears. I wanted to stop crying, but all my efforts went in vain. The worst kind of sadness in the one which cannot be explained!

The worst part of this phase was that I couldn’t do any Root Cause Analysis of the situation. Because everything in my life was running quite smoothly. Good grades, strong friendship, love of my Parents, I had it all. But my beloved friend “depression” made my condition worse day by day. Sleep just wasn’t sleep anymore. It became an escape place for me. It was strange how I could totally be a normal person in the crowd but would end up cold and numb on the floor once I would be home alone.

I wanted to talk about it, I wanted to yell and scream, but all I could do was weep alone and tell myself that one day, everything’s going to be just fine. I remember hugging myself and mumbling “you are not alone”.

Finally, unable to handle it alone, I conveyed about this relationship with beloved depression to my father. I call it my beloved friend, because depression has taught me many life lessons just like a true friend does. I was surprised to know that he had the same experience too. Though he did not end up weeping on the floor like me, but his emotions matched mine. That is when he told me, “beta, we are humans, and we break down sometimes which is completely normal.” I am fortunate to have such an understanding father. He even explained that only physical illness does not require treatment, but assistance is required even when our mind gets sick. He was ready to find a counselor for me too, though it wasn’t required later on. May God bless every child with a father like mine!

He further reminded me that whenever you feel you are in unbearable pain, think about people who are not as fortunate as you. Think about the soldiers in our border, think about their family, which lives in the hope of meeting them soon, either alive, or with their body wrapped up in our Tricolour Flag. Think about them and absorb some strength from their courageous heart!

So from the very next moment, that is what I did. God has a beautiful way of giving you life lessons and the best part is, you don’t have to look so far, because your ‘Glimpses of Hope’ are somewhere around you, waiting for you to notice them.

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‘Glimpses of Hope’ are somewhere around you

Firstly, I paid a close attention to the Man in my life who managed his family so well, kept his loved ones happy with all the strength in the world even after being physically impaired. No storm could stop him and he would always stand up as the Superhero of his family without the Superman’s cape! He became my first glimpse of hope.

Secondly, I saw the struggle of a girl, who was of my age and I addressed her as my sister, who supported her family and helped her father clear all his debts, by killing her dreams and working for her family instead. She would stand as the ‘Tiger’ of her family whenever required and shield them from all the troubles. She would smile and hug me with inspiration even after going through all the dark times alone. She became my second glimpse of hope.

Thirdly, I envied the strength of my friend who would keep her emotions intact, even after facing all the conspiracies of her own relatives against her family. I envied how firmly she would still trust and inspire people even after her faith had been played and broken by her own blood relations. Instantly she was added to my list of “Hope”.

Fourthly, I aspired to become like a friend of mine, who literally had been through hell and back, struggled through the taunting and discourteous behaviour of the society but still carried a ray of hope in her soul and faith of humanity in her heart. She still chose to express her smile to the world which once made her life miserable. She then became my ‘Glimpse of Hope’.

Lastly, I feel so fortunate to have read a book called “Eat Pray Love”, by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book brought me closer to God. It showed me a path of peace during the darkest tunnels of my life. This book created another Ray of Hope in my heart.

Though I have not written the names of people in the list of my “Glimpses of Hope” expressively in the article but I am pretty sure that they will recognise themselves while reading it. Lastly, I would like to thank all my readers for investing their precious time and reading this piece of writing. I believe that you will look around and find your ‘glimpses of hope’ soon, because the word H.O.P.E. itself says, Hold On Pain Ends!

Happy reading!

HEARTACHE FINDS HOPE

Heartbreak is one of the worst feelings in the world. It doesn’t matter what caused it. It feels the same to each of us.  It is like a sickness or ailment for which there seems to be no cure. It is an ache in the deepest part of your soul that feels like it won’t go away. It is in these moments that our character is forged… for better or worse. It is how we respond to Heartbreak that defines us.

A Russian proverb says, “The hammer that shatters glass also forges steel.” We must harness the hammer to forge character of steel.  An old adage says, “Time heals all wounds.” I believed this until I had my first deep, gut-wrenching Heartbreak. Meandering around like a zombie, lifeless inside, friends and family would ask me the casual “How are you?” and I would respond with a smiling facade “Fine. And you?” I knew it was a lie. I was far from “fine” on the inside. But what else could I say to them? Later, I remembered what a mentor and teacher said, “The mere passing of time doesn’t heal. It only leaves scars”. In other words, time is passive, healing is active.

The problem is that when you’re in the deep darkness of it all you feel as though you can barely move. It can be difficult to muster up the energy to even speak with your closest friends let alone “take action” or “move on”. Most importantly, it is during these difficult, dark times that we learn where our hope lies. Inevitably, that is what we are after during these seasons of our lives…hope. Another Hebrew proverb says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a spring of life”. The problem is that almost everything around us is temporary. One sage king and poet called it “grasping at the wind” and “meaningless”. During this dark season of my life, I had many friends around to counsel me and encourage me but ultimately, what I found was hope. Hope that existed outside of myself and my flawed human relationships.

Heartbreak only reveals where our hope is placed. If the foundation is solid, we may still hurt but our hope will not waver. If the foundation is not, we will be shaken.  Another wise saying goes, “There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh,” meaning, it is natural to grieve.  However, in order to move forward, we must make sure our hope is in something unshakeable and unchangeable. For me, it was my Creator. He knows me and knows how to mend my heart (because He created it) and I knew He couldn’t…wouldn’t leave me. My hope was that one day, I would see my Him face-to-face. I looked at all the things He had done for me and saw how all of our suffering hurts Him as well. I meditated on His desire and plan to restore all things and I thought in my heart, “He knows what I’m going through and He will never change, leave me, nor forsake me”. He was the one constant, unchanging Person in my life in whom I could rest my hope.  When things look bleak, I look up at the One who sees all, knows all, and loves all and I breathe a simple sigh of relief with, “He knows…He knows because He knows me.” Do you know Him? Does He know you? Have you made yourself known to Him? Another song-writer and singer wrote, “He binds up the broken-hearted and heals their wounds.” I pray that you may find healing from your wounds in the only Hands that I’ve found adept enough to heal mine.

CAREFUL! REJECTION BREEDS REJECTION!

There is no other thing than Rejection which literally depredates a heart. It stings like a honey bee in the flesh. It tears you apart to pieces. It literally makes you wounded gravely.

I know it very well because I myself have experienced that feeling of rejection so many times. Being a cardiac patient from birth I felt that often when I was denied to do certain things, or to lead somewhere, or to take part in some event etc.

Rejection makes you feel worthless, insignificant and nothing.  Rejection breeds rejection!

I thought of addressing it in my life only in the later stage and now I think we all should address the issue of rejection as soon as possible.

There are THREE invaluable inner needs of every individual on this earth. They are:

  • Being Identified
  • Being Loved
  • Feel Secured

If any one of the above is severed we feel rejected. All the above three are interlinked with each other too. When we feel loved, we feel identified and we feel secure too. When we are recognized or chosen for some task, we feel noticed, important, attended to, loved and we don’t feel insecure.   

We live in a community and each of us are co-depended on each other to either derive or put forward that feeling by accepting or acknowledging each other. It works within a community system or format. We need to understand that system too to feel and let others feel accepted.

I had mentioned earlier about author June Hunt who is also the Founder and CSO of Hope For The Heart, the non-profit ministry she founded in 1986. I have been really helped and inspired greatly by her counselling handbook. She talks about rejection quite elaborately and also talks about how fatal it is.

One section of that chapter caught my attention, “How Does Rejection Breed Rejection?”

She says, “When rejected, a chain reaction can occur that leads to more rejection. Through conscious choices, a cycle becomes a pattern that eventually becomes a way of life. Unless truth is embraced, the cycle broken, and the pattern replaced, rejection will continue to breed rejection.”

Isn’t that deadly?

She also presents a chart to explain this truth more clearly. I have taken a snap of it and have displayed it as under:

Rejection Breeds

 Amazing!

Let me simplify what she says. According to her, the feeling of Rejection brings the feeling of worthlessness. We feel low of ourselves when we are rejected.

Then the feeling of worthlessness brings self-pity, low self esteem and self hatred. We blame our own self for not being considered or accepted by others or in a job or for an assignment and so on.

Then self hatred inflames a highly negative attitude and disruptive behaviour within us. It doesn’t happen in a moment. It is processed very systematically within a time frame though the time varies from person to person and is situation based.

And finally that negative behaviour reproduces rejection.

I have seen people assuming things and reacting to what they assume. 

Let me explain…

When the host of the house doesn’t offer the food laid on the table, some people assume that the host doesn’t want them to eat more or she is not hospitable. But the reality may be that she intended to let her guests be at liberty and use their discretion to serve their choice of food themselves.

Interesting! Isn’t it?

Rejection affects our mind so much that we become negative thus assuming what our heart says about the responses we get from outside. And we feel rejected further.

Before I conclude, I would like to share few TIPS which I have been taught in my life’s school over the years whenever I felt rejected or felt negative about myself.  

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Those TIPS are as follows:

  1. Remember we are created in the IMAGE OF GOD. So we all have great values and self-worth.
  2. Always believe always in facts not on feelings or assumptions.
  3. The opinion of people doesn’t define you as who you are in reality.
  4. One or several rejections don’t mean the end of the life. You just need a little guidance which is natural.
  5. Learn from each rejection. Use it as your armour for the next venture.
  6. June Hunt says, “nurture several friendships, focusing on God’s description of how true friends treat one another. A true friend will never reject you.”
  7. Always pray this prayer in your heart: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Yeah! God gives you the strength which you require.

Remember, Rejection is natural but feeling yourself as a Reject is not.

Friends! Don’t dwell in negativity if rejected, because “Rejection Breeds Rejection…”

Stay Blessed!

Author’s Bio: Chiradeep Patra is a finance man who works in a NGO at Kolkata. He is a writer, motivator & counselor.