One answer to the impossible question
Ever wonder why you go through hard times? They take so many forms: health problems, money issues, family struggles, broken relationships, job loss, or worse, the loss of a loved one. Ever wonder “why me??” as you suffer through weeks or months or years of pain and darkness when nothing seems to break your way? There’s at least one answer that applies no matter how often you ask the question or how frequently you feel like the bug instead of the windshield.
We struggle through difficult times so we can support and encourage other people going through the same things.
Whatever you’re facing, you’re not alone. Whatever you’re going through personally, professionally, mentally, or emotionally, you can be SURE countless other people are struggling with the same demons and fighting the same battles at the exact same moment. It’s taken me a long time, but I now realize that knowledge isn’t enough. In order to make sure the dark stretches in my life don’t go to waste, I MUST open my mouth!
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is waging a war with drug and alcohol addiction, and it’s no secret. He waited eight years before making his MLB debut, thanks to failed drug tests and subsequent suspenions. After his trade to Texas in 2007, he turned himself into one of the best players in the game, even collecting MVP honors in 2010. Fans won’t ever forget his emotional appearance in the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankees Stadium when thousands chanted his name as he belted a record 28 homers in the first round. But amidst the glory, Hamilton has made at least eight trips to rehab and suffered through a pair of relapses in the past three years. Instead of hiding his missteps, he’s faced dozens of TV cameras to admit those relapses and apologize for messing up again.
I’ve heard from recovering addicts who admire Hamilton’s courage and vulnerability in going public with every bitter step. He answers the same questions over and over, never shying away from the harsh spotlight that constantly exposes his mistakes and regrets. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is the same way. He spent two years in jail for his role in illegal dogfighting, and he never misses an opportunity to talk about how prison made him a better man, a better father, and a better leader.
What good are the struggles we face if we don’t SHARE them so others know they aren’t alone when they stare up at those same gigantic mountains? My dad was a deadbeat who refused to pay child support for most of my life. His verbal abuse, constant lying, and drug use left an indelible mark. But I’ve crossed paths with many other people who bear similar scars. That’s not an accident. When I hear from someone else with a past like mine, it never fails to lift me up and remind me I don’t walk alone. By opening up, we can offer hope, encouragement, support, and the promise of light at the end of the tunnel. We may be a lifeline for people on the verge of giving up.
We may never fully understand why we suffer through hard times, I’m determined not to waste the tears and the pain and the struggles. And if that’s the ONLY answer I have to “why me?” … it’s enough.