There Will Be Joy In The Morning

The winds of change are blowing. In fact, since the beginning of the year there have been times when they have been veritably howling, bringing with them unexpected and unprecedented modifications to life and circumstances that could never have been foreseen, expected, anticipated or indeed welcomed. But still in the midst of the flux, to some degree, I can see there has been good that has come from it all … though it has been hard at times to discover, understand and embrace.

Resistant to share all that has gone on over recent times, I had remained silent here.

But finally the revelation has come. It’s now time to write and share for one reason alone … and that’s the hope that in so doing there might be encouragement and affirmation gained by others who are going though life’s dramatic upheavals or who are on the precipice of change and facing it all with fear of the future and even thinking that they may fail. 

To share in this way is the principal reason I started this blog in the first place … to be a place of connection, collaboration and care, in the same way in which the foreword I wrote in Australian Country Collections resonated with and was supported by thousands of readers across the nation every bimonthly edition of the magazine over many years.

And so, change over these past few months has come … not ringing in fresh new and exciting opportunities per se, but more to resoundingly close doors, severe relationships and turn life in a completely diametrically opposed direction to that in which I ‘thought’ it was heading.

I will admit that, unlike the last time when my life was set in a new direction as a consequence of a near-fatal accident which – beyond my control – was the cause of me closing my country store and shutting the door on the world of retailing and all the rich and rewarding relationships which were so integral to the tapestry of daily operation, this time the change occurred purely as a result of my own decision and doing.

There are times in life when we can look back and, with the wisdom of hindsight, we can finally see all the little events, circumstances and subtle situations of the past and embrace the revelation of what was actually going on. It is usually at such times that we declare “how did I not see it coming, how did I not recognise what was going on?” The answer usually lies somewhere in the truth of not wanting to see, and in my instance, of having had unreserved faith and belief in the professional and personal integrity of another.

But when that faith and belief is shattered and betrayed, one can make the decision to carry on in what has ultimately become an abusive relationship, or to take a stand and declare “enough, no more, it is finished”. And so I did just this … with little thought to the future at the time. The pain of betrayal and the dissolution of a relationship in shreds were far too debilitating and clouded all judgment beyond the ultimate decision to leave a professional appointment of several years … whatever the cost!

Once the grief subsided and the struggle of coming to terms with the actions of another, the journey of finding a new direction began. I was going to say ‘the unprecedented actions of another’, but looking back over the years of both the professional and personal relationship shared, I realised that the behavior was not unprecedented at all. It was latent and became more blatant as the days rolled on.

And so, the biggest stumbling block were the fresh memories of what had happened, and the overwhelming sadness of lost potential and a ‘disintegrated’ future. The amazing and unprecedented support of colleagues and associates, not to mention my wonderful world of beloved friends, was a balm during these days. But they all collectively could not remove the pain of betrayal and loss I felt … nor ward off the gathering clouds of fear of the future. Where would I go, what would I do?

The downward spiral of self doubt occurred as confidence made a hasty departure and belief in better times and days ahead disappeared. They were indeed dark days, coloured by many incidents of being taken advantage of as a consequence of my enduring belief in others, the professional claims of a wide gamut of institutions and what I guess is my naivety in still holding on to a belief in others and acceptance of their word. If one major lesson was finally and resoundingly learnt during this time it was the one of ‘knowing others by their actions, not by what they say’. It’s not a judgment … it’s a fresh and practical way of being able to move forward in this broken world.

As time has ticked on, I can see that the past few months have been a fertile ground of experiencing and embracing a wide gamut of life lessons which I really thought that I had previous learnt but … nope! I had to have life turned upside down and inside out to ‘get it’ and to climb back up and reclaim a future and a hope in better days. But first it was a case of crawling, then walking to ultimately believe in running again. I’m not yet doing a hundred metre sprint, and some days it’s little more than a ‘fast dawdle’ but at least I’m still going and heading in a forward direction of some sort.

The transition from despair and loss has involved many processes, principal amongst them being the act of forgiveness. I’ve learned, read and even counseled others on the act of forgiving and the positive life-changing impact of doing so over many years, but this last six months has really presented me with the opportunity to ‘do it’ big time!

The Greek word for forgiveness is aphieme which literally translates ‘to send away, to set free or to let alone’. More than a feeling, it must be an action taken by the one wronged to release the wrongdoer. Easy … not! Grappling with the concept over a number of months bought with it feelings of fault, guilt, inadequacy, self doubt and a sense that punishment was inevitably deserved. These are all the outworkings of a previous life’s conditioning and the consequence of gaslighting by a true master. Once the realization dawned, I was empowered with knowledge and wisdom (much of which was imparted by dear and kindred souls who walked alongside me) to be able to say the resonating words spoken by best man Mark (Andrew Lincoln) in one my favourite movies Love Actually … “enough now”.

Forgiveness was coloured by resignation of what had occurred and how life had so dramatically changed and was not going to unfold just as I had thought and planned. And with resignation and forgiveness came acceptance and slowly but surely the understanding that ‘this is now the hand to play and play it I must’.

The ability to move on – and to even get out of the bed some days – was also enabled by the significant issues of ‘refocused memory’ and the embracing of faith. Instead of dwelling on all that had changed that was painful, healing came be remembering the milestones of life when there had been profound blessings, victories, new beginnings. If God had done if before why would He not do it again?

A significant part of the ‘getting of faith’ and the journey of trusting again – especially in the creator and higher power – involved the process of praising and looking for the joy of the situation and indeed, the simple delights and blessings of everyday life. With this came thankfulness, and strangely, and ultimate gratitude that all had actually unfolded just as it had. It might sound contradictory, even paradoxical, but I now understand that divine guidance and grace has been there all along … directing, shaping and shifting, enduring and constantly shining like a beacon on a hill.

 And with trust and a belief in grace and mercy, there comes hope.

Sure, things today are not as planned … just as is the case for so many others in this day and age. But they are what they are and that’s ultimately OK … but only if we believe it to be so and want it thus to be the state.

There will be joy in the morning.

As lyrics penned by Chris Brown, Steven Furtick and Tauren Wells express “everything happens for a reason but you don’t know what you don’t know. And you’ll never have peace if you don’t let go of tomorrow ’cause it ain’t even faith till your plan falls apart but you still choose to follow. If it doesn’t make sense right now, it will when it’s over.

“Giving in to your feelings is like drowning in the shadows. You have to keep believing, even in the middle of the unknown ’cause grace will be there when you come to the end of your rope and you let go. It may feel like you’re going down now but the story isn’t over … there will be joy in the morning.”

Indeed, coming to the end of the rope, grace has the most important part of the process of healing, refocusing and trusting that all will be well … a bit today, a bit more tomorrow and much joy to be had in the morning.

Another important lesson – heard a million times and finally embraced … is that life can change in a matter of seconds and the here and now as we know it may disappear in the blink of an eye. So it’s essential to one’s happiness and health to rejoice in what is, not what was and what could have been. The situations, the circumstances and the kindred souls of today are not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, so it’s life-giving to embrace and be grateful for all that is right now!

Sure, life tomorrow and even today might not be what was imagined or planned, but a refocusing on the good, the blessings and recalling of all the wonderful times, places and people who have shared the journey thus far enables each of us to keep going, keep believing and keep faithful in the knowledge that indeed there will be joy in the morning.

Until next time

Rick xxx

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