There is a vulnerability that comes when we find ourselves in ruin. The masks come off. The “I’m confident” mask. The “I’m holding it all together” mask. The “I’m happy” mask. The walls that we put up to keep things out come crumbling down. We are stripped bare. Our scars are visible, our deepest fears made known. There we are…the essence of what it means to be a human…imperfect. Whatever we were looking for or working toward – love, success, health, sobriety, wealth, status, achievement, or a dream – has eluded our grasp and we have fallen. We were told that failure was not an option, or that as long as we tried, that was all that mattered. But we now know that failure is an option, because, by definition, we failed.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try (or don’t try), we fail anyway. We fall into holes. And we discover that it matters not so much whether we dug these holes for ourselves or fell into them by happenstance. The truth is, we will struggle to get out either way. Others may try to find fault and assign blame, leading us to feelings of shame. But these are all useless endeavors. No one ever helped someone in the midst of struggle by suggesting that it was “all their fault.” All humans fail at some point. Everyone will eventually find themselves in holes of their own. But when just one person chooses to let their judgmental thoughts fall away and extends a hand in compassion, our perspectives can shift. Then we may see our ruin as a gift.
Is there any better time to start over, to try again, to transform than when we find ourselves in ruin? We have already fallen from the pedestal. Life has humbled us. While allowing a certain amount of time to wallow in the misfortune or disappointment is an entirely human thing to do, every second we choose to do that is another second we aren’t beginning again. Ruin can teach us that though we are vulnerable, we are strong…though we have been humbled, we are worthy of all we work for…though we have failed, we are loved. Ruin can teach us to be grateful for every blessing, every triumph, every simple pleasure. It can help transform us into who we are meant to be. And when we finally do manage to climb out of our holes – though we may be covered in dirt, though we may be a little battered and bruised, though there are things we have lost – we know in our hearts everything we have gained. We know why we must turn around and extend a hand to our neighbors in their holes…so maybe they can find the gift in the ruin too.
If you find yourself struggling at this moment, know that you are not alone. Try to embrace the mess. And, remember, while people are falling in to holes every day, others are climbing out. You can too.
Take Care of Each Other,