It’s been a while since I’ve been at an airport, but the last time I was there, I noticed two signs: one said Return to Terminal, and the other said Exit Airport. My mind wandered while on the shuttle, as I thought about how each of us has those two signs constantly in front of us when we go through dark days and uncomfortable circumstances. How so?
Each time we go through something tough, we need to learn the lessons that can make us stronger for the long run-–lessons that strengthen our character or our perseverance, or that make us able to help someone else who is going through something similar to what we have. We can’t waste our pain. When we “go through” the pain to the other side with the right attitude toward it, we find ourselves in a better place to stand taller and to help others in their journey (an ultimate sign of recovery). And it’s as if God says, “Ok, you can exit the airport. You maximized the circumstance. You gleaned the small nugget of good that you needed to, and now it’s onto living your life more fully, more authentically. Well done.”
However the other sign also stares us in the face when we get bad news. Return to Terminal represents the looping back to the pain day after day, choosing to stay down and take no action (by the way, grieving loss IS action!). It’s like Groundhog Day without purpose. We start developing “learned helplessness” saying that we’re the only one facing this struggle (personal), it always happens to us (pervasive), and it’s going to last forever (permanent). We choose to not look for lessons or for anything to be grateful about. Our emotions continue to spiral downward, and we return to terminal—interesting word…terminal…sounds like it’s game-over when choosing this path. Here it’s like God says, “Guess you haven’t learned the lesson yet. Still languishing, huh? Can’t wait for you to get past this so that you can thrive again. Go ahead. I’m here for you. I’ll wait.”
So, here you are…in traffic, looking at those two signs: Return to Terminal and Exit Airport in your current challenge. What’s it going to be? Your turn signal is on….yeah, good choice.
Need a guide to help you make good choices? A coach can help. I’m there to help you process your decisions and make you think about your options. It’s an outside perspective on your life. And I want to be there for your success. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or simply watch the little nuggets of inspiration I dish up for you over on YouTube.