GENDUSA COLUMN: Those tumbled down days

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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Some days, life seems to take a tumble, a misstep, or when it feels as if something is just plain off. Days when our energy is low, but our worry is high. Frustration, sadness, and fatigue sink in, and we wonder why. 

Most of us want to go back to bed, cover our heads, and pray that tomorrow will be an ‘on’ day and our joy will return. However, I believe we need those troubled days to recoup, rethink, and redo. Perhaps they are given to us to settle ourselves, be alone, and even shed a few cathartic tears. 

It has been said that writers pen their best works during episodes of depression.  I’m not sure how that works when you are buried under the covers, but the idea is plausible. Depression and art often go hand in hand. From Van Gough to Hemingway, those tumbled down days gifted the rest of us with beautiful words and breathtaking paintings. Their talent rose to the surface in the quiet moments of loneliness and disillusionment.

Recently, I was experiencing an “off” Tuesday morning. Too much to do, worry, and lack of sleep threw me for a loop. I received an email from a gentleman after he read his newspaper earlier that same day.  He wrote, “Your column this morning is just what I needed to face a grueling day! Thank you.”

How funny that his note helped me face my own grueling morning with a new resolve. And that, my friends, is how life works. Life flows better when we realize we all need each other to survive our tumbled down days. 

While on vacation, my sweet friend fell and broke her foot. This is not the first time she has broken a bone due to a tumble, so I knew she was frustrated.

When she sent a message to all her friends telling them of her accident, her phone lit up with good wishes. By the time I talked to her, that little cheery, laughing- at- herself attitude was again in full bloom. We need one another to heal from all falls.

Years ago, before emails and cell phones, I wrote my mother a letter after a crazy day with my new baby and a mischievous toddler, who persisted in providing trouble. I comically explained the entire day but ended it with the word, “HELP!”

Mom called me after receiving the letter a few days later. 

“Honey, I am sorry you had such a terrible day, but I laughed until I cried as I read your story.”

“Gee, thanks Mom, I am glad I made your day happier from my misery!” I kidded.

Then she thoughtfully responded, “Lynn, you really can write, you know.”

I replied, “Mom, now you are the comic!”

When I was going through Mother’s papers after her death in 2010, I found that old letter and, in my grief, a much-needed smile crossed my face. She had helped me indeed.

When nothing is going our way, and when life seems complicated, and trouble lurks, it is usually a signal for growth. In our solitude, we find we may need to reevaluate our priorities, pray a little more, or even pen a novel. 

It is a monumental struggle to find strength and meaning during our dark times, but it is worth a mighty try. Perhaps, in the end, you could discover that your darkness created light for someone else. And that, in turn, motivates us all.

One of the most significant faults human beings have is our inability to call for help. Our pride gets in our way, and fear of what others think of us rises above what is best for us. Here’s the deal, every single person on earth always and will forever need aid at one time or another. No one is immune from downtimes and arduous journeys. 

The trick is how we manage them. Do we go to bed and hide, or do we face struggles head-on and grow from our downtimes?

If you look straight into the eyes of God, he will tell you to get up and do no matter how you feel. Ask for his aid, call a friend, or seek wise counsel. Out of the darkness, Van Gough painted “A Starry Night.” And, out of lonely silence, Hemingway wrote sentences that echoed around the globe.

Never fall from tumbled down days, but instead, see what beauty you can create from standing tall through them. When you do, you just might help another not to tumble.