As long as there is breath, there is hope. ~ Unknown
As we near the end of 2017, I’ve looked back over this year and realize that it’s been another tough one full of challenges, disappointments and feelings of loss and isolation. There have been some ups, but there’s been a lot of downs. And like many black women, I think I’ve mastered the art of powering through.
I can deftly navigate the peaks and seemingly endless valleys all while holding my head up, even if inside I’m suffering. For instance, I could sit across from my former white boss as the only person of color in the department, telling her another coworker was being hostile to me and making me uncomfortable while she doubted me and tried to make me feel as if I was delusional, telling me, ”We all make up stories.” I could sit there like it was fine and that her disbelief of my truth wasn’t an egregious violation of my right to feel at the very least, safe at work. I could add it to the litany of challenges I’ve had in the workplace as a black woman. I could go back to my desk and carry on, pretending it was ok. Pretending I was ok.
I can work harder it feels, than most people I’ve known, busting my back trying to get ahead in my life, only to feel perpetually behind, and still appear content. I can be in St. Louis, one of the most segregated and racist places I’ve ever lived, and consistently experience subtle and sometimes not so subtle acts of racism and microaggressions that at times have hampered my ability to access opportunity, and keep it moving – every hair in place, every emotion checked, until it’s not…
And in those moments when I’m alone, when I can allow myself to feel and acknowledge how hard and unfair life can be sometimes, and realize that this has been a particularly long “season” of tests and trials, sometimes, I become very uncertain if things will work out in the end. I wonder if this seemingly endless path of challenges is leading to a definitive victory. And in those times, it can be a struggle to hold on to hope and my faith that everything will be ok. But inevitably in those times, something always happens to assure me.
I was driving to a meeting one day, listening to music. I was really upset about a situation with someone who was trying to get out of paying me for work I’d done, and needed help figuring out how to pursue action. This situation came on the heels of several events that had left me feeling mistreated, taken advantage of and vulnerable. I’d had it. My window of tolerance was nearly shut. In other words, I was on the verge of becoming emotionally uncorked and could cut. a. b*tch! And then suddenly, divinely, the song, “Gonna Be Alright” by Mali Music came on. I knew the Universe was guiding me.
There was only one person I wanted to talk to who I thought could help. But I really didn’t think he’d have time, or even know if I’d be able to reach him quickly to address the situation which felt time sensitive. But as soon as I walked into the building for my meeting he was there, in his own meeting with colleagues. We talked, he guided me, and everything got resolved.
After that I had a series of pleasant encounters with smart, kind people who could sense my stress and offered varied forms of solace and understanding. People showed up for me. Those interactions helped recalibrate my energy and lower the intensity of my emotions. It was a wonderful and much needed reminder of the presence of grace and that the Universe supports me. That experience helped me reconnect with my faith and divine relationship.
I’m working on trusting that everything will be fine, eventually, even if the resolution doesn’t show up in the version I wanted. The universe will support me, as long as I’m doing my part, and at times, even when I’m not. I’m learning that we don’t have to earn grace. It is given–on those days when we’ve done everything right, and on those days where we may not have been able to show up for ourselves.
Trusting that you will be ok can be very difficult, especially if you’ve experienced long-term situations and setbacks that suggest otherwise. If you’ve been struggling in your finances for a long time it can be difficult to believe you will ever achieve financial stability. If you’ve been sick for a long time or are dealing with a chronic illness that isn’t improving it can be hard to trust that one day you’ll be better, or even that you’ll feel better about it. If you’ve been single for a long time and wish to be partnered, it can be a challenge to believe you will ever connect with the right person. And personally speaking, trusting that everything will work out is exponentially more difficult if like me, you suffer from anxiety. It’s all hard. And sometimes our faith, our hope, gets low. And that’s ok. But hold on.
Hold on to those moments of grace and divine intervention that show up for us, that continuously carry us to the next moment. And continue to hope that the next moment will be better than the last, and is getting us closer to the dreams we hold in our hearts.
Life is real and bad things happen, but It’s still ok to have hope that things will be better. Just because challenges have lasted longer than we would like doesn’t mean we have to give into the belief that things won’t or can’t change. That is not being naive. And periodically, in the midst of our faith journey we will naturally become skeptical. But from time to time we will receive divine information and assistance to squelch our doubts, even if for only a moment. It’s ok to implement the audacity of hope even if it doesn’t look like things will ever work out or make sense.
Having hope and digging your heels into your faith are two of the most powerful things you can do while in the struggle. Hope and faith can create action. And massive action creates change. And sometimes that change is internal and manifests in a healing perspective that helps you cope. Hold on and believe that it’s going to be alright, no matter what.