I recently watched an episode of Holby City (BBC One) where Sacha Levy, a larger-than-life, loveable and compassionate consultant, was shown standing on the edge of the hospital roof, contemplating ending his life.
Like many viewers, I was gobsmacked, because this was Sacha, who seemed to be perpetually bounding his way through life, being there for colleagues and patients alike. So what happened?
Thankfully, the episode began to unravel Sacha’s life. It became apparent that Sacha had experienced some life ‘knocks’. Twice divorced; losing patients he’d held dear; having his heart broken a few times; rejection from his children, and a shedload more seemed to have broken this affable man.
With each ‘knock’, Sacha seemed to pick himself up and get back into the race. However, on this particular day, Sacha’s response was different. He wanted to end it all. Thankfully, his colleague, Ric Griffin (another respected consultant), talked him out of it.
Experiencing My Personal Life Knock
Shortly after watching Sacha’s life unfold, I too experienced my own life ‘knock’ or unscripted moment, as I fondly call it in my book, Bouncing Back! (ISBN: 978-0992619527). My younger sister, Deborah, passed away very suddenly.
It was just eleven years ago when I lost my Dad. Shortly after, I found myself in a chasm of anger, disappointment and sadness. And yes, I was a Christian with a loving relationship with my heavenly Father. Yet, the blow of Dad’s passing seemed to take the wind out of my sails…pretty much like Sacha. While walking under a dark cloud, my book, Healing a Discouraged Heart (ISBN: 978-0956260635) was written. If the truth were told, it was written for my benefit, as I searched for answers and grappled with grief and loss.
On hindsight, I realised my response was not just to Dad’s passing, but also to a succession of unscripted moments. When care is not taken, we may find ourselves responding in ways we never thought possible. So, this time around, when my sister passed, I purposed to do things differently.
Hope – The Key To Handling Life’s Unscripted Moments
When I reflect on the lives of people who have been through tragic or challenging times and came out stronger, I see one common denominator, namely hope. Nelson Mandela had lashings of this. So did Sir Terry Waite and many others who endured hard times. Hope became the glue that kept the spirit, soul and body together.
Though surrounded by darkness, hardship, challenges, pain and suffering, hope kept their eyes and hearts on something higher and greater than what they faced. Hope kept the fires of their hearts stoked when, in real life, the embers around them had been all but snuffed out.
In talking to a mentor/coach of mine recently, I was reminded of the need to keep my gaze heavenward, pinned on God and not the tsunamis in my life. For when I gazed at the situation, I start to sink like Peter (Matthew 14:22-33). However, hope gives us the strength to press on.
Surround Yourself With A Nurturing Community
Going back to Sacha’s story, the intervention of Mr Ric Griffin saved Sacha’s life, literally, along with well-meaning colleagues. I am a firm believer that we all need a ‘Ric Griffin’ (or two) in our communities, so now is a good time to reflect on who is in your community.
Over the years, I have come to value having support in various shapes and forms. I saw the benefit of this with my recent loss. The ongoing prayers, encouragement, cards and phone calls have kept me going – and more so my precious Mum. I am so grateful for this.
Therefore, I cannot overstress the importance of this support. Two, indeed, are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). We all need someone, no matter how strong we think we are. Being able to pour out one’s heart to one who cares is just priceless.
By the way, you may need to include professionals, such as counsellors, in your community – especially if you are struggling or perhaps battling with the likes of depression and suicidal thoughts. Please get help.
Become More Self-Aware And Honest With Yourself
For me, unscripted moments are akin to tsunamis, where we have to deal with the aftermath. Refusing to face up to the aftermaths of our unscripted moments is similar to sitting in a pile of rubble after a tsunami or earthquake, while hoping to resume a normal life without a clear-up strategy. It won’t work, as you have to rebuild.
However, for you to rebuild, you have to accept a tsunami happened! Therefore, honesty and a healthy dose of self-awareness are paramount here. Denial or pretending everything is OK won’t get you anywhere, and will begin to affect other areas of your life.
Instead, face up to the realities in your world, cling to hope, get the support you need. Then let God do the rest.
Written by Grace Gladys Famoriyo – Speaker and Author of books, including Overcoming Emotional Baggage, Quit Hiding, Start Living!, Bounce Back! and Healing A Discouraged Heart. www.gladysf.com