Recently, I was reading the story about the man who fell into a deep, tight crevasse while hiking and had to cut off his arm in order to climb out and survive. That’s hardcore. But it got me to thinking: How many of us how been in a hole of a different shape and size? Life is full of peaks and valleys. And you, my friends, will experience them all.
All of the world is in a “pit” of sorts right now – struggling through a pandemic where nothing really seems normal and may never be. This new world has brought on a lot of crises of different varieties. Maybe the valley is from being fired or laid-off; maybe it’s from divorce; maybe it’s from an illness; maybe it’s from betrayal.
Here’s the key: ALL of these valleys require help to get out. All of them. No exceptions.
Valley #1: Stumbled.
These are the valleys that take us by surprise. We were walking along, minding our own business and WHAM! We are suddenly 8 feet down, looking up wondering what the heck happened! How did you get there? You were just wandering along – not hurting anyone! You’re confused and fearful and annoyed, quite frankly!
Valley #2: Shoved.
Oh man, these are bad. You trusted someone, and somewhere along the way, they dug a hole and shoved you in it. Then they walked away. You’re feeling betrayed and lost and angry and fearful.
Valley #3: Jumped.
Someone hand this guy a shovel! This is the hole you dug yourself then you took a running jump into it! No one even had a chance to stop you because you weren’t listening – you couldn’t hear over the blade of your shovel hitting the dirt! Now that you’re down there, you’re sad and angry and afraid and hopeless.
Notice any similarities in these pits and valleys? All of them bring about fear. We’ve talked about fear and how to conquer it. But I want to talk to you about the people who help you climb out (so you don’t have to cut your arm off!).
You’ve heard it a million times in the last few weeks, but I’m going to say it again: We are all in this together. Relationships and connections are so important – when life is going right and when it’s not.
So, who are the types of helpers to reach out to? There are people who stand at the top and yell encouragement or advice, “Just climb out! You can do it!” They seem like really nice people – they don’t want to see you fail, but they are afraid they’ll fall too and that’s too scary.
Then there are the people who throw you a life preserver. For a hole. Really? They say things like, “You shouldn’t have fallen in! That’s the issue!” They clearly don’t know how to help but want to do something. If they aren’t careful, they’ll fall in and then there will be two of you crying out.
Finally, there’s the people who grab a rope and lower themselves into the hole alongside you, but they aren’t scared. They’ve been here before and they know the way out. They don’t judge you, they smile and say, “Hold on, I know the way out.” They can’t lift you or do it for you, but they are right behind you as you climb. Look for those people. Chances are they’ve shown themselves to you before. They are firm in their beliefs – but not unkind. They are confident but not cocky. They listen instead of constantly seeking to be heard. They give to others but also know when to set a boundary and say no.
The thing about holes, valleys, pits and crevasses are that they are not bottomless. Every season has its end. Every challenge has a solution. Every tunnel has an opening. Every pandemic has a resolution. When you make connections, working toward your goal, gather people who can help you when you need it – not just people who can toss you a life preserver!