People wonder why I'm a pessimist - or what I like to call myself, a "realist".
See, every time things are going OK, I can never relax and think, "Wow. I'm so lucky that things are going my way! Woo hoo! I'm livin' large!" Instead I think, "Shoot. When's the shoe going to drop? When's the sky going to fall? I know I have it coming..."
That's not really pessimism, is it? It's more like the whole "hope for the best and prepare for the worst". Or maybe it's more like, "Hope for the best but don't want it too much because if you do you'll just wonder when all that bestness is going to crash and burn into a charred pool of worstness."
OK, now THAT'S pessimism.
I guess the best way to describe life is this: "Shit happens." Because that's what life is all about. Shit happening. Day in, and day out, shit happens. Good shit. Bad shit. Random shit. Unfair shit. Stuff we don't deserve shit. Stuff we totally had coming shit. Shit OUT OF NOWHERE.
Like a sucker punch. A sucker punch from God.
I hate it when I get one of these. I hate it about as much as I hate surprises, latex balloons, being tickled and people who chew with their mouths open. But again, shit happens. And there's not a lot I or anyone else can do about it.
You know how this scene plays out. You're going about your normal, mediocre life, doing what you do, completely oblivious to what is about to transpire. (That's the windup.) Then, there's that "I can't believe this is happening" or "I am not hearing this right" or "This is all just a dream" feeling. Then your eyes start darting around, as if you think if you can just focus on something, everything that's going on around you will suddenly make sense. After that, you see that people are talking and their mouths are moving but all you hear is "blah, blah, blah" and there's this kind of rushing sound in your head - like waves on the beach only much less cool. (That's the punch.) Then you realize that you're on the spot and you need to keep your composure, so while half of you is trying to keep from screaming and throwing things, the other half is trying to channel some type of Lamaze-type breathing to calm your ass down. (That's the wind being knocked out of you.) Then finally, when everybody's gone and you're alone, the pain really hits you, and you cry. You cry and you cry and you cry. And until you really can really wrap your arms around it, you alternate between crying and feeling numb. Not knowing what to think. Not knowing what to feel. And worst of all, not knowing what to do. (That's that agonizing pain as you lie writhing on the ground waiting for it to subside.)
We've all been there at one time or another. And I really don't have any advice other than this. First of all, if the sucker punch is about you directly? Then by all means, take the time to make it about you. That's fair. Cry, stay in bed for a couple of days, eat ice cream out of the carton, don't shower. Whatever it takes.
But if it's about someone else and it just somehow affects you, for God's sakes, don't make it about you. Remember - they got punched harder than you did. Don't waste time thinking about how it will affect YOUR life, or what you're going to do now that THIS happened to SOMEONE ELSE. Don't be that stinking selfish. You're allowed to be sad, and to feel helpless, and you need to grant yourself that for a little while. But when that time is up, you need to figure out what you can do. How you can help. What they will need. And acknowledge the fact that while this news may affect your life, it's probably changing someone else's in a way much greater than you can imagine.
And even though you're still reeling from God's blow, pray. Always, always pray.