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Instructions on How to Not Give Up

More than the garden phlox growing rotund heads, more than the display of bright red canna tongues shoving their way upward toward sky, it’s the greens of trees in my yard that take me over. Oh my! They do not give up.

Last week’s straight winds broke limbs and whammed branches to the ground. It took days to clean the yard from the littered aftermath. And yesterday the redbud split!

What do I do when life splits me open? Shock and sadness, but then, what? When I get slammed with cancer, divorce, or debt, what then? How do I not give up?

I kept pondering it and talking with husband and friends about it. Eventually, I wrote it down. Today, I’m sharing it with you. It may not help you as much as it helped me, but here it is. A gift, a blessing, for you.

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO NOT GIVE UP when in the valley of life:

  1. Get out of bed and put clothes on. (I do not stay in pajamas. Depression loves pajamas!)

  2. Purposefully let someone be close. If not a person, a dog or cat.

  3. Ask for help. Move that pride to the side. Not helpful.

  4. On empty, so let go of whoever or whatever is toxic. Just steals emotional energy. (When I let go of anything, I give it to God, putting it in safe hands.)

  5. Ask God for help in showing options, choices, direction.

  6. Feel the pain. Permission granted to sink down and cry. (I’m convinced that’s why we were given tear-ducts.) It’s okay to talk to a friend/counselor/pastor/dog and to take naps.

  7. Make a plan to clean up one corner of the problem. One corner.

  8. Work to look beyond the hurt to find something to be thankful for—anything. Gratitude leads to a new way of thinking. When in the valley, we need that.)

  9. Consciously lower expectations and become patient. (Reality: It may take a month to make a dent in the problem. When something is broken, it takes time.)

  10. Pray for a soft heart and forgive self and others. (It’s a choice.)

That’s enough for now. My point: There’s a bigger plan. Love (God’s way) achieves more than anger (Lucifer’s way). Plod on, reminding self to trust the Divine Process.

Whatever is happening in my personal life, whatever is happening in the world, it does not rock the Divine. All is well. Feelings come and go, so on I go with what I know.

Our redbud tree took a big hit. My husband and I stand together looking at it. He wants to clamp it, save it if he can. I look at my sweetheart tree. Literally full of shiny hearts. I vote for amputation, hoping God will keep doing His thing, letting new green branches grow, letting new heart leaves unfurl.

I turn back toward the house, praying Jesus’ words, “Thy will be done.”


Pat Durmon

Gratitude for comments below the photo of redbud tree. Your words have been encouragement. I thank you.

Photo of redbud tree near Norfork, Arkansas, by Pat Durmon, July 7, 2017.

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