Every piece of writing and every piece of advice that hopes to train you to encounter storms is never going to be adequate, never going to be good enough. And no, this isn’t one of them. This is a contemplation of the words of one of my favourite authors.
The oxford dictionary proclaims,
a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.
It may not be an exaggeration to say that the definition is a perfect fit for what I intend to discuss, albeit for the state of mind.
Life is no luxury for anyone. Every soul that breathes life has to manoeuvre its way through the roller coaster that it is; ups and downs, plateaus and steeps, the terrifying storms and the eerie silences that precede and succeed them. Storms are a litmus test for all that has been imprinted and ingrained in your mind. The anger, the trepidation, the terror, the frustration, the strengths discovered, the unparalleled loss, the courage that you didn’t anticipate, the betrayal that you did, the relationships that survived, the time tested bonds that ironically didn’t, the uncertainty that killed you, the faith that restored you, the amalgamation of all of the above makes it seem like a journey that alters you. For better or worse, time will tell.
In such precarious times, to be able to hold on to your sanity, let alone your beliefs and principles, is easier said than done. Yet somehow, Faith does magically rescue you. Hope is the most powerful medicine ever chanced upon. If you know for certain and can believe with conviction that there is a plan of the Almighty, that there is a destiny for every traveller, and that there will be a day when things will make sense, it (at the least) helps you to hold on for a little longer. Sometimes that will be all that you need to sail through.
Coming to the other monster in the room, let me forewarn you. Everything won’t go back to being rosy when the next rays of sunlight hit your face. Contrary to popular opinion, Grief doesn’t have an expiry date. It will cause you to bleed and whither in pain, time and again. The rotting ends need to be sliced off often, the fresh bleed solely indicating the vitality of the tissues. Only then will healing commence. Mind you, the scars will remain forever. And more often than not, they will repeatedly go back to being wounds. Phantom limb can be a possibility too. Someday in the midst of your monotonous routines (when you assume it’s finally over), it will hit you out of nowhere how enormous your loss actually is. Be crystal clear about one thing though. You will never get back to your ‘normal’ or rather your pre-storm self. It all boils down to one surety. It is going to be as awful (and probably worse) as you imagined and no, it’s not going to get better with time. Don’t let anyone fool you with the mystical healing powers of time. Time will only teach you to exist anyway, to hone your primal instincts to survive against the odds and to accept the profound truth that grief is something you can learn to live with. Do you know how I know all of this? I am excessively into quoting authors and my most favourite author ever, promises
The storm will most definitely shatter you, but you dare not forget that you are, in every sense, a worthy opponent. You possess the ability to battle it and that’s why you were chosen to confront it in the first place. It is undoubtedly the most awe-inspiring thing about the human species, the indomitable spirit of life. As much as it overwhelms you, you don’t forego daily mundane activities. As much as it drains you, you don’t stop sprinting. As much as your heart yearns to be left alone, you do eventually get back to the well meaning people around you, who anyway, nudge their way in through the walls you have built.
But, like every trial that you face, there is some respite at the next step. As impossible as it seems now, it will be better the next day. Or maybe, it won’t. But there are days after that too. Also it may never be okay, but that’s okay too. Take each day as it comes. Twenty four hours of anguish and despair are easier to face than a lifetime of it. Combat it on a daily basis. Plan your survival goals to last till the time sleep encompasses you (or evades you) tonight! Hang in there. Make dua, lots and lots of it. Cling on to hope fiercely and recall,
Ask him relentlessly, with humility and consistency. Tell him how colossal the mess is, that you find yourself drowning in. Beseech him, beg of him, and implore him, again and again and again.
Break yourself now, Unbreak yourself later.
That’s what this storm is all about….!