A family member is having a patch of bad luck lately. Lost items, unforeseen events resulting in rapidly dwindling funds, and missed opportunities — these are the realities of his life right now. Each event, on its own, is perhaps not so unsettling, but when piled all together they seem to form a giant blob of ill portent. In fact he has endured so many bad turns, he is considering starting his own blog to chronicle his misadventures which he intends to title “Dark Thursday.” (It’s necessary to be able to laugh at yourself in order to survive in this family…)
It’s hard to watch someone I love go through this, particularly when there is little I can do about it. It’s tempting to try diverting his focus from the negatives by pointing out the positives in his life. That’s never the good idea it seems to be, though. Oh, I grant it might do the trick when you have suffered a minor disappointment — something along the lines of a stubbed toe or arriving too late to catch the movie you hoped to see. But it doesn’t work so well when the human brain is trying to process the larger disappointments in life. Let’s face it — none of us wants to be reminded of the time we found two dollars in the laundry when we are reeling from the loss of a large sum of money or processing the anxiety of being jobless.
The hard part of loving someone can be letting them own their struggles. I’ve been trying to hold myself back, and let him find his own way. This means no fixing, no minimizing, no bursting out with an enthusiastic performance of “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.” It’s hard for me to accept, but the best thing I can do is to be just be present with him during these times. Simply “showing up” might be the best way I can offer comfort while he works on his situation, and waits for better days to arrive.
The truth is better days are coming. They always do. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if those days are coming tomorrow, or the day after, or if the wait will last for days and weeks and months. I can state with certitude, however, that tough times WILL end. Nothing lasts forever, and while I may not be able to hurry current unfortunate events along, I can stand by him through the hard times until they get here.
And maybe there is one other thing I can do for him, after all…I can call him up and lift his spirits with my rendition of “The Sun Will Come Out…Eventually.”
…Okay, maybe not.