Has anyone ever told you, “you’re reaping what you’ve sowed”? It’s true that some things that happen to us are a direct result of something we have done. However, that is not always the case. There are also times when we reap what we do not sow.
Those who know me know that I like to garden. I have a vegetable garden. This past year I saw the leaves of a tomato plant sprouting in the garden. I began to cultivate it, and for the past three months my husband and I have been enjoying the sweet juice of delicious yellow tomatoes. I have no idea where this plant came from. I didn’t plant it. Was there a loose seed in the soil of another plant I purchased? Did a bird drop the seed from a neighboring garden? I don’t know where or how it got there, but I do know that I reaped tomatoes I didn’t sow.
In addition to good, we also, unfortunately, can be the receivers of pain, sorrow, and agony that we don’t deserve. We live in a chaotic world where sometimes terrible things happen to us that are not our fault. Bad things do happen to good people. Like the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, the victims of recent wildfires and tornadoes, and victims of abuse; horrible things can and do happen to us with no fault of our own.
When I was 11 years old, my 13 year-old sister was in a near fatal motorcycle accident resulting in the amputation of her leg. It was a horrible accident. My life, in an instant, was flipped upside down. For the next year my sister would live in the hospital and I would become independent, taking care of myself, as my parents were busy taking care of my older sister. Life happens. Accidents happen. They key word here is accident, which comes from the Latin word “accidentem” which means “what comes by chance.” (Harper,D. 2001-20017) You can do everything right and still have to live through a traumatic event. In those moments, the pain and hurt can be even greater and harder to heal from.
So, what do you do?
- Be kind to yourself: Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend.
- Reap the good with the bad: If you can find even the littlest positive thing that has happened, embrace that.
- Give yourself time: Don’t expect to feel like yourself in a day or two or three or four. Healing takes time, and that’s ok.
- Don’t overthink it: Stop trying to figure out what you did wrong or what you could have done better. It may not have been your fault.
- Forgive yourself: If you did something that contributed to the trauma, forgive yourself. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes.
- Ask for help: If you can’t stop thinking about it, if the thoughts are intruding on your days and/or nights, if you are not able to see beyond the pain, if your not healing and you are fighting symptoms of anxiety and depression, there are people like myself who are here to help. You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out. Ask for help. You deserve it!
Harper.D (2001-2017) Online Etymology Dictionary(2001-2017). https://www.etymonline.com/word/accident