ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Making Sense of Life's Ebb and Flow

Updated on November 2, 2015
HealthbyMartha profile image

I'm a Certified Health Coach who wants to help you create the best balance of spiritual, physical and mental health that is possible.

It's Always Something

Last week I had a few days that I found myself feeling quite down and very lonely. I had been at school and had reached out, a bit tentatively, to a few of my classmates to perhaps do something socially. Nobody was biting, so I just came home. As I left again to take the dog for her walk, a car pulled up at the curb and my daughter's mother in law called out to me. She and two other ladies were on their way to the local State Fair. I was pleased that she stopped to speak to me, but as they drove away I had this ache that I didn't get invited to join them and so I slipped a little further into my funk.

I started thinking about how few friends I have locally, and how I was feeling very vulnerable and lonely to not have any plan for my afternoon. As the dog and I walked, I could feel the tears filling my eyes and a lump in my throat. I felt like the tears were dangerously close to falling down my cheeks as I tried valiantly to hold them back.

About that time I saw three homeless folks across the street. In the neighborhood where I live, there is a section where I often see one or two homeless people. Many of them talk to me, and they ask after my dog. Some of these folks will call out "I haven't seen you in a while" or ask me "How is Honey?" after my dog. In the 13 months since I moved to this neighborhood the sight of these people has been challenging for me.

On the one hand it makes me feel very sad that these people have no home. It also fills me with anxiety and a bit of shame as I have so much more than they have. But, I always speak respectfully and treat them as I would wish to be treated.

On this particular day, with my mind so full of misery in thinking of myself as friendless and alone, I had a bit of a different experience as I approached this trio of homeless folks. The one man called out to us, and I pulled myself out of my misery long enough to wave and return his greeting.

It is then that the thought hit me that we all have our lot in life; we all have a cross to bear of something that is painful. It is just different for different people!

The Common Denominator

As I made my way home I was thinking about my sadness of having no friends to do things with and feeling so lonely and reflecting on what the strife must be for my homeless friends. I was noticing that though they have no home, they have each other! I have seen these groups at different times, and many times I see so much camaraderie and companionship. I've witnessed affection being exchanged and laughter.

Now, I am not suggesting that I would trade places with these people who have not even a place to call home! But, I'm realizing that while they are without a home, they are not without companionship and friendship. I have a home, but find myself bereft of friends and companionship.

My problem is no better or worse. But it is my problem. As being homeless is theirs. Now, we could argue that being homeless is a much worse fate than having no friends. And, it truly is a devastating situation for those who find themselves without a home.

But, my point is not to try to assign a hierarchy of misery to our respective plights but rather to respect that for each of us, our suffering is very real. In the long term, being without a home presents a much bigger problem than my complaint over feeling friendless. But in the moment, pain is pain! My misery over being without people was real and poignant and it hurt.

Life is like a box of chocolates.....or something like that

I guess it becomes a bit of an existential dilemma then; to understand or to make sense of life's little irony's. I can't pretend to know or to solve the plight of homeless people, or to have a solution for any of the challenges that plague us during our life time's.

What I do know is that we all have something that we have to overcome. By that I mean, life is not perfect and into each life a little bit of rain will fall. I personally like a bit of rain, it's the monsoons that get to me! But, seriously, I think it's just the nature of life to be a mixed bag. Would you trust a life that was always perfect? I don't think that I would; I'd always be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I think it's meant that, just as we have the darkness to contrast with light, we have sorrow to contrast with joy. How could we even identify the emotion of Joy were it not for having had sorrow? If the sun shone 365 days of the year, and was a steady 78 degrees, it might feel like paradise, yes? But might it also start to feel monotonous? Or boring? Or annoying? I think a day here and there of rain, or wind, or clouds is necessary to really appreciate the sunny days.

Life is a marathon! There are twists and turns, hills and valleys, and it requires endurance and pacing to make it through. Just as the runner prepares for the race, so we must be girded daily to take on this thing called life.

Sometimes we are the windshield, and some times we are the bug! It is what it is.

For me, I think being open minded and patient are key skills to have for survival. And if one truly wants to enjoy this big old smorgasbord called life, then one might need to be a bit tough too.

While I have never had to be homeless, I've had my share of drama, pain and loss. At times I've wondered if I were being punished for the severity of losses and trauma's that I've endured. But, looking back I think maybe we are given exactly what it is we need in order to grow and develop. If we believe in Karmic law, and past lives, then it's easy to think that maybe we go through some of the particular strife we experience because it is what's needed to make it out of this life and onto the next. Not everybody subscribes to this theory and I'm a bit on the fence myself. I like to believe in Karma, and I do like to think about reincarnation and think how nice to know that what I didn't figure out in this life, I can return and do better in the next.

And if that's too big to swallow, then perhaps it's simply a matter of growing for this life only. I like to think that each of us has the opportunity to take the lessons life gives us and grow and become the best people we possibly can be.

I have since recovered from my sadness of the other day, and am back to counting my blessings. But, I am also open to knowing that the good days will be interspersed with "bad" and not so good days and that is OK. I'll be fine, and so will those homeless folks I saw on the street. We are living our lives and doing the best we can.

And maybe that's all there is; living each day, one at a time and taking it in stride. Tomorrow is another day.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • HealthbyMartha profile imageAUTHOR

      Martha Montour 

      2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you MsDora for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    • HealthbyMartha profile imageAUTHOR

      Martha Montour 

      2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you MsDora for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I agree with you on the value of being "open minded and patient." I have recently begun to pay attention to the idea of mindfulness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • HealthbyMartha profile imageAUTHOR

      Martha Montour 

      2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Dr Rangan. I suppose I do rely heavily on the theme of compassion; perhaps as I struggle to be more compassionate with myself. Thank you for reading and weighing in!

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      2 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks Martha for a nice hub. Your hubs reflect human pathos efficiently, especially compassion. We all have our fair share of ups and downs in life, which are simply unavoidable.

      We all have to face them and, as matter of fact, life teaches us to do so effectively.

    • HealthbyMartha profile imageAUTHOR

      Martha Montour 

      2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You figured me out Jody. Indeed, writing is cathartic and so happy it resonates with you.

    • profile image

      Jody 

      2 years ago

      Aww Martha, you did it again. It is very cathartic to write out your feelings and work out your feelings. Well written and great points. Thank you again.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)