I spent the beginning of last week tackling the messy and the difficult and the surprising questions in life. I walked into a room not knowing what to expect only hoping to leave more inspired. I heard stories. Funny stories. Chasing dream stories. Marriage, family, and children stories. Building businesses with hard work and determination stories. Stories from the heart and words that easily moved everyone sitting in their seats. I knew this was exactly where I needed to be. The conversation moved to how these stories came about and how these individuals got to this point in their lives. The hard questions were asked, and answers from the heart filled the room.
If you met me in my everyday life, I couldn’t give you these words right way. They usually don’t come to me until the time has passed, and I have soaked up everything from an experience. That is how I feel about the hard questions as well. They usually only appear when you are ready to answer them. Mine appeared last Monday. And in tackling those questions, I had no idea that losing loved ones would play a role.
I spoke to you only days before I received that message. We had intentions of making plans. Unfortunately, those plans would never take place. I spoke to you. I heard your voice. You were good. You laughed. You made jokes. In my mind, you were good. Or at least that is how I remember it.
I turned on my phone that morning not expecting to get that message. I didn’t know that people that I knew, that I spoke to, and that I grew up with could leave. How could you be here one day and completely gone the next? That couldn’t happen to people I know. That would never happen to me. I knew the stories of how it happened to others, but in my mind that could never happen to me. Until that day came.
Nobody tells you how to handle loss because it is one of those difficult, unspoken topics. There are no right answers to it. Everyone reacts differently. Everyone changes differently. Everyone moves on differently. Everyone stays paralyzed in the moments differently.
And the only advice I can give is that you will know in your right time how to deal with it. You will know that your past no longer defines you. You will know at the right time to move on. You will know that those you have loved and lost will always be with you in some way. You will know in your right time how to take that loss and turn it into something beautiful. You will just know.
When the hard questions are asked, sometimes you don’t have the answers right away. You know in your heart what you want to say and how you want to say it, but hearing those words in your heart and saying them out loud are two different actions. They each take a certain level of strength. The kind of strength that only comes with time and healing.
If you met me in my everyday life, I would have listened. If you had laid the hard questions and answers at my feet, I would have listened to every word of it. I would have soaked it all in. It is the only thing I would have known to do. It is the only thing I did.
I could have offered you words, but maybe you wouldn’t be ready to listen. I could have offered you action steps, but maybe you wouldn’t be ready to move. I could have offered you anything and everything, but until you are ready those gifts mean nothing.
I hope you face the hard questions at some point in your life. The ones you don’t want answer because you are afraid of where the answer might lead. Maybe it isn’t your time to face them yet. Or maybe you have been running from them constantly staying just a little bit ahead. Or maybe you are facing them today. Maybe even in this moment.
Those hard questions – they make you think and dig deep. But they need to be asked and spoken out loud. And sometimes the answers are tough and unexpected, but they have a way of leading you. In the end, the answers will lead you to something more beautiful than you could have ever imagined – freedom. It is something quite beautiful!