In the midnight hour, when curtains are drawn, tables are folded, musicians have gone home, and all we have left is our conscience staring at us. Can we rise above the whirlwinds of life and be hopeful, optimistic, grateful and self-reflect from positive perspectives? This is a very intimate question. Nobody has the power or audacity to question anybody’s answer in this regard. But history and evidence show that those individuals who can “sing a song when in the valley of tears,” make history.
The valley of tears is those lonely, dark, solemn, isolated, discouraged corners of life—when sickness brings a strong person to his or her knees; a spouse decides to abandon his or her marriage and walks away with another man or woman; got laid off after so many years of work; being micro-aggressively mistreated; oppressed; bamboozled; and tragedy stripes away our years of savings and assets, it is extremely difficult to stay strong. But for those who understand the importance and urgency of staying strong and focus; triumph.
“It Is Well with My Soul”
Horatio Spafford composed one of the most widely sang hymns when he was in the valley of tears. He loss his real estate business (property) in 1871’s the Great Chicago Fire. Two years later, while his family was sailing to Europe for vacation, the vacation ship capsized, and his four beautiful daughters drowned tragically (only his wife survived). While on his way to meet his wife and bring her back to the United States, and as the captain was sailing through the sea spot where Horatio’s daughters drowned, captain pointed to Horatio where the tragedy took place. It was at that solemn moment that Horatio composed, “It is well with my soul.”He was in the darkest moment in his life when he created a piece that unimaginably revolutionized the world of hymns. History was made in the worse moment ever imagined.
“Only when it is dark enough can we see the stars”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not make this declaration when sky was blue and life was in order. Life inevitably presents such moments in our lives, when we feel like everything is crumbling before our eyes. Sometimes, dark moments for somebody could be a challenge on how to pass course exams, or finally live in their own space, or find a partner, etc. It is evident that “valley of tears” is inevitable. It is an unavoidable music of life. The only difference is how we choose our own dance, and the courage we bring to our experiences.
Fear is a powerful tool for change. Fear compels a person to take action or inaction. Fear can cripple or motivate. Fear can provoke a person into taking measurable action. Without any shadow of the doubts, or missing words, fear is a propellant for every action or inaction. No human ever born is fear free. None!! So the idea of “do not fear” is a false promise. The question ought to be, what kind of fear do we entertain? Most of us entertain fear from destructive perspectives due to memorized emotion. Destructive fear only leads to actions and reactions. Constructive fear on the other hand, feeds on responding to situations. So do we fear constructively or destructively when in the “valley of tears,” is the question? The answer is in results and our daily routines.
All of us are living in the “valley of tears” in different capacities, be it how to sustain our relationships, friendships, workplaces, raising our children, or even dealing with ourselves alone. The wave of reality is that fear is a memorized emotion. We have to decide how to drive it. There are two ways to handle fear:
When we know who we are, and whose we are, it helps us start our spiritual journey. Spiritual intelligence speaks on power higher than self. One of the ingredients that come with spiritual intelligence is peace. Anybody who has no peace in his or her life lacks understanding of peace and not connected to spiritual intelligence. Psychologist Richard Griffiths describes spiritual intelligence as a higher dimension of intelligence that activates the qualities and capacities of soul, in the form of wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity, and peace. So if we understand ourselves from these dimensions, we will be able to entertain our fears when in the valley of tears.
In every situation, be grateful because our struggles could be worse. The best way to view challenges is through the lenses of pervasiveness explanatory style. Meaning, challenges and difficulties are universal. Everybody is getting his or her fair share. The only control we have is our own thoughts and attitudes toward our difficulties. If all of us can be mindful of our actions and inactions, we can share our “valley of tears” experiences together without judging one another. And judging is a sign of destructive fear.
It is possible to “sing a song when in the valley of tears,” when we recognize our spiritual intelligence, and when we are grateful for what it is, as opposed to what it could become. What it could become only makes sense when we first know what it is.
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