plant in rockA few years ago, my life turned down a blind alley. It wasn’t one event, but a succession of events.

  • My elderly father fell which resulted in his moving to an assisted living center.
  • My daughter was going through intense stress and needed our help.
  • One night in December, my father had a massive stroke and was gone within an hour.
  • spent the next few months dealing with his estate (something I was ill-equipped to handle).
  • Doctors diagnosed my father-in-law with severe dementia. He moved three times until he settled in a memory care center.
  • had four surgeries. (I had never had surgery in my life.)
  • My father-in-law passed away.

When I look back at what I just wrote, it gives me shivers. Somehow, we made it through. In the aftermath, I reflected on what it took to stay sane in an insane world.

Four phrases capture a survivor‘s mind.

Make it through today. Jesus said, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34b) In the darkest days, I got up every morning with a
simple goalJust get through the day. I did not know what tomorrow would hold, but I could work through the next 18 hours. When my head hit the pillow, that day was over.

Just get through the day. I did not know what tomorrow would hold, but I could work through the next 18 hours.

Others are in worse shape that I am. It is easy to fall into a “pity party.”
Someone has said many are dying of terminal uniqueness. “ At times, we feel like no one has had our kind of trouble. When you look around, many are worse off than you are. They are dying of cancer. A child they loved diedChildren go to bed hungry; families are left fatherless from a drunk driver, and so on. Before you buy the cake for the pity partylook around. In comparison to many others, you are blessed.

In ten years, this won’t matter. While there are life-altering events, many of life‘s anxieties are nothing but emotional dew on a summer earth. I have always tried to ask one simple questionWill this make any difference in 10 years? If I say “maybe” or “yes” I get to work. If the answer is no, I let it go. Many of my problems did change my life, but they leave a residue, not a scar.

Be still and know that I am God. Humans strive to control their lives. When circumstances steal it from us, we drag our fingernails across the spiritual pavement trying to hold on to any sliver we can. Inevitably, David’s counsel in Psalm 46:10 remains. We don’t control life. We only live it. We did not decide the day of our birth and neither will we decide the day of our death. Many of the good things we receive are not of our doing, but are quiet gifts mistaken for accomplishment. In the depths of difficultiesstop your life. Sit still. Listen to the still small voice of God and simply respond.

am four years past the onset of my whirlwind. Life is different, but the ripples have calmed. I have learned to think in a different track. When life gets insane, you cannot change your circumstances, but you can change your perspective.