Well, my life's meaning and its SUPER chain of events, twists and turns continues, but I am happy to report that I CAN see my silver linings -- plural. Why you ask? A boatload of faith, prayer and a heightened understanding of finding meaning in life because I read the book "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl.
I was raised in a very devout Mormon family, but I was blessed to be exposed to a number of different religions and their beliefs and lifestyles. I've always been fascinated by the intense devotion that is shown by Catholics, Jews and Muslims, to name a few. For me, I always thought my religion had a lot to embrace and keep track of to be a "good Mormon" but I was and continue to be inspired by my friends who are devout to their beliefs. Judaism, in particular, is a religion that has always peeked my interest. Maybe it's because of "Fiddler on The Roof" or Ross Gellar singing "Dreidel, Dreidel" in an aardvark costume, but it's probably because of my extensive research of the second World War and the persecution towards the Jewish people. When my lovely friend Amanda recommended this book I was going through a royal shit storm of all shit storms. She shared with me that this book was written by a Jewish psychiatrist who survived living in the Nazi concentration camps and wrote this book to share his theories on coping and survival under the bleakest of circumstances. At the time I tried to read it and the raw, tragic details and realities of the concentration camps was just too much. However, I was not in the right place and when I was faced with the last curve ball of my life, I picked the book up and hardly put it down. I could write a LOT about the wonderful gems that caught my eye, but I will only cover a few to wet your whistle. I told Amanda that this book was like a good solid therapy session for me.
Transforming our personal tragedies into triumphs. What does that even mean? Where on earth can we find the triumph in losing a job unexpectedly, a spouse losing the brave, warrior fight with cancer, or a child going to heaven before it could come home from the hospital with his mom and dad? How? Well, that's where the miracle comes into play. What I have found for me is a chat with myself (and then God, in prayer) that goes something like this, "I am so not thrilled with how this has turned out, however, I know that there is a reason. Even though I can't see the reason this very second because I'm a sniveling, crying mess, I'm still going to tell myself that it was with reason." Dr. Frankl talks about this a lot in his book...hence the title....and he often referenced people he knew in concentration camps who could bear gruesome conditions and brutality none of us can imagine because their lot in life was to find triumph in the tragedy. I can't even imagine. To say I was humbled by the stories he told would be an understatement.
you need to adult. Like for reals, not the fake kind." No matter our religious background or belief in a certain God, we all have a soul and a spirit inside of us that speaks to our heart and gives us the direction we need to live life to its fullest. Dr. Frankl talked about prisoners who would get very creative with what little they had to cope and survive. He talked about the brain's ability to survive WAY more than we think it can because we have an innate sense of survival as human beings. Absolutely beautiful, if you ask me and I've experienced it more times than I care to admit.
I am a better person for reading this book about the meaning of life and how those who had it far worse than I ever will found a way to embrace their triumph in the midst of tragedy. I say it over and over that we can do hard things but it is TRUE! Put those reminders on the bathroom mirror that life will turn out for the better and that God has a plan and say them out loud to yourself every single time you see them.
The moral of the story: Figure out your why so that you can survive the how. Have a prayer in your heart that the peace will reside inside while the chaos continues outside. Keep the faith. Don't give up.
Until next time, my lovelies.