It is easy to share stories of resiliency once we have gone through the fires and emerged on the other side feeling like we have been made better through our struggles. The harder task is to acknowledge pains while going through a season of ennui. I write this article for anyone out there who is going through the doldrums and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer gravity of the moment. I include myself at the top of the list; the past couple of weeks have displaced the sense of purpose I had in my spirits and replaced them with a mood of melancholy.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that taking on the injustices of the world seem quaint compared to facing the fears we all harbor in our souls. The ways we deal with the unknown and try to heal from the wounds of our past might be different, but the one thing we all have in common—irrespective of our stations or our background—is pain. There is a reason why the most empathetic people are those who have suffered the most, giving becomes a form of self-therapy.
The problem that some make is that giving becomes a crutch and a means of escape. Extreme giving can be just as problematic as extreme selfishness, the middle ground is the best path because zealotry is impossible sustain. My father used to tell me when I was a child that my biggest challenge will be to find a happy medium and to tamp down my exuberance whenever I felt passionate about my latest endeavor. I did not realize the profound wisdom he had until he was no longer around.
I make no secrets of the hardships I went through for two years, not too long ago I was living at a farm shelter in Northern Colorado. During my time of bareness, all I had was faith that one day things will turn around. In time, solitude led to love and reunions as my life transformed from despondence and renewal. It was this journey that rekindled by love to write and gave me a purpose to speak for those who have been rendered invisible by society. I felt convicted to do so because I used to count the least among us as my neighbors just last year.
Alas, I made the same mistake my father warned me about in the past. The humility I gained through hardship evaporated as ego took root the minute I found success. In the process, I drove myself to do too much. I knew the perils of politics and the dangers of gazing too long into the problems of the world yet I dove in head first. All came to a head last week when I wrote the article about Anthony Bourdain’s death, I found myself feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders yet again. It seems counter-intuitive to feel overwhelmed once you climb out of the abyss, but upon much reflection the past couple of days, I’ve come around to this realization. There are no aha moments in life, we go through ups and downs and our emotions change like the seasons. Happiness is not a destination but a series of rest stops on the road of life. Overcoming past turbulence does not mean you will not face tribulation in the future. Click To Tweet
When it comes to the iniquities of the world, we do our part through small acts of kindness. Change will come one heart at a time, none of us are powerful enough to will justice by ourselves. The biggest change we can make though is to first look within, broken wings can’t fly and neither can broken hearts mend others who suffer. Find the middle ground between taking care of others and taking care of yourself and don’t let the excesses of the world be a burden on your back. Above all else, be kind to yourself. #Note2TheBroken
“The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019