If there’s one thing 2020 has shown us, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted. Our lives can change irrevocably in an instant, leaving our hearts full of grief and guilt.
If we had a choice, we wouldn’t face our fears under any circumstances. However, this year has shown us that adversity doesn’t knock at anyone’s door and wait for an invitation; it barges in when you least expect it.
The fear of illness, loss, and solitude has become more tangible than ever before. If you’re struggling to face your fears, you’re not alone. Here’s a guide that will help you navigate challenges without crumbling under the pressure and losing the battle before it begins.
Absolve Yourself of Guilt
If you recently faced a tragedy, you’re probably struggling to let go of guilt despite knowing you had nothing to do with what happened. Whether we lose a loved one to an illness or give up in a situation we fought tooth and nail for, we often find ourselves feeling guilty and remorseful for something that was either completely out of our control or couldn’t be salvaged in any way.
The first step to healing is absolving yourself of guilt. Did you recently lose someone to COVID-19? Did you end a toxic relationship? No matter what you experienced, understand that there’s nothing you could’ve done to undo/salvage it. This realization will go a long way in helping you develop a healthy attitude towards tragic events in life.
In “The Ojai—Pink Moment Promises,” Patricia Hartmann tells the story of a young farm girl, Meggie, who experiences a global pandemic—the Spanish Flu contagion. Meggie’s strength and tenacity following the tragic circumstances are incredibly inspiring and moving. Instead of letting guilt and remorse gnaw at her, she takes on her responsibilities and faces her worst fears with shaky hands but unwavering determination.
She spoke a covenant prayer. “I’m getting up. And staying up. Lord, please help me carry this load. Help me to quell the longing to be somewhere else. Let me be content and find what you have for me, right here in this valley, dirt and all.”
Meggie got up from her knees and wiped her face. The pungent scent of pine rose from the trees towering above the damp earth. A black crow cawed from its perch on a low branch. Picking up a small stone, she pitched it at the malevolent bird. The crow took flight.
Click here to read the first chapter.
Don’t Let Your Trauma Define You
After facing unimaginable loss, we often start avoiding anything that reminds us of the event. From refusing to set foot in hospitals to avoiding certain people who trigger unpleasant memories of the loss, we go to great lengths to protect ourselves.
While you may be doing this subconsciously and dismissing its gravity, it can balloon over time and burgeon into a massive pile of fears. You’re essentially shoving your fears under the rug, waiting for the pile to slowly accumulate and cause you to trip and sustain a nasty fall.
Start by confronting your trauma. Take the time to process it so you can grow from it instead of letting it define you.
In “Secrets of Sandpiper Cove,” Patricia Hartmann narrates the story of a young woman named Rachel. Not only has she faced incredible loss, but she also has a plethora of responsibilities that lie ahead, including making a future for herself and her daughter. Rachel processes her loss and actively works towards not letting it define her.
Sometimes we have to face our fears to save all we hold dear. Ever since losing her mother to the seaside cliffs, Rachel has had a deadly fear of heights. But now she has desperate choices to make on a shaky widow’s walk suspended between earth and sky… her emotions brooding between hope and despair. As the salt air bristles with lightning, she scans the angry, wind-swept sea for any sign of the Sea Star, the fishing boat of the man whose marriage proposal she’d just refused.
How can you do the same? Click here to continue reading the moving modern fiction novel and work towards disentangling your own trauma.
Don’t Rush the Process of Healing
Healing from traumatic events is often a lifelong process. The more you rush it, the more overwhelmed, anxious, and exasperated you’ll feel. Instead, take your time and let things naturally fall into place.
Remember, healing isn’t linear either. While you may expect a clean, upward trajectory, it’s very likely that your journey to healing will be replete with ups and downs. As long as you trust the process and keep at it, you’ll manage to tend to your wounds and come out stronger.
In “Yosemite—One Last Golden Summer,” Patricia Hartmann depicts Colby’s willingness to heal after a period of being away from home. Born and raised in Yosemite, he returns to the “granite womb” as a park ranger, looking to reconnect with his estranged son, Jake.
Now, Colby had been too many years away. He pulled off the road at the Tunnel View and breathed in the pine-scented air. The ancient rock monoliths still framed the valley entrance. El Capitan, a gray pillar of stone. Cathedral Rocks, spilling the thin cascade of Bridalveil Falls. Cloud’s Rest at the center. And a glimpse of Half Dome in the distance. He drank in the scene greedily, like a man dying of thirst.
What Colby needed now was healing. A mending of his ravaged soul that only this special place, carved by the hand of God, could do. He closed his eyes and sucked the crisp mountain air deep into his lungs. Home.
Read the prologue and first chapter to embark on Colby’s journey and chart your own path to healing and contentment.
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