Here Comes That Next Wave…

The significant dates in your life are like the various stages of the ocean waves.

One thing is certain – that special date (or dates) will recur every year you are alive. Just like the annual holidays, we all have specific dates in our lives that hold significant meaning.

No, I am not talking about birthdays and anniversaries. This blog is devoted to stories of how to live courageously when our loved ones have passed. Those are the dates I am referring to.

Perhaps you are too young to have many personal tragedies occur in your lifetime. Not to sound gloomy but that will change as you grow older. For many of us, however, we may have already lost our favorite grandparent, parent, sibling, close friend, spouse, child, best friend, or significant other. These are the dates we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Ever notice how you feel when those particular dates approach? Does anxiety increase in certain years or emotions flood your memories such that you need to be alone, spend time at a special place, or reflect upon happier times? Those emotions seem to increase as those dates approach. How do you feel?

Consider the following analogy:

You are standing on the shores of a beautiful ocean location. The canvas is painted by the blue skies above and the setting of the bright orange sun. In the distance, you see white caps approaching but they are too far away to raise any concern.  These are the dates in your life that hold significant meaning for you.

The water lapping at your feet have traveled a long way to reach the shoreline. It is remarkably peaceful as you close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the mighty ocean. Nature’s symphony plays the concert of relaxation yet in the background, you can hear the distant roar of those white caps approaching.

Your eyes open now. The white caps are closer as the crescendo of the sounds stir anxiety within you. Soon, those waves will be threatening your position on the shore but for now, your stance remains firm. Your muscles tighten a bit in anticipation of what will be inevitable. But for now, there is still not much to worry about.

Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, you focus on what is now directly in front of you. The waves seem to have intensified with their force and sound. Your heart beats faster and your breathing is no longer steady. Your eyes are fixated on the white caps that have transformed into a thundering wave that has only one destination – YOU! This is the particular month where your significant date resides. Somehow, time passed you like a speeding race car at the Indy 500.

This is it!

That wave which was miles away only a short time ago has finally arrived in front of you. The fortissimo sound of the wave bellows as if to shout – “Look Out! I am here to knock you down!!”

At this point, your brain is processing a million thoughts but of primary evaluation is your decision to do one of several options: (1) brace yourself in spite of how small you are compared to the ocean’s might; (2) get ready to jump up as the wave pounces on your footprints in the sand; (3) turn and run away from the ocean; or (4) bend over to hold tight onto your ankles as you tuck your head towards your chest. This is similar to how you would face that significant date. What will you do in response to its arrival??

Finally, whatever was your decision, you look behind you (assuming you did not run away from the ocean’s wave) and see that what was once a roaring, menacing wave is now a trickle of water that holds no danger. You survived the wave just like you will endure and claim victory for making through that significant date. Then you say to yourself, “Why was I so afraid in the first place?”

And so it is with your significant dates. Once that date has passed, you are no longer anxious and life goes on. You get up and go about your business like you always do. New people to meet, friends and family to call upon, life to enjoy – it is all waiting for you to embrace. Relish in your victory of overcoming another year!

As your gaze returns to your ocean of life, once again you see those white caps in the distance. You anticipate its arrival but for now, all is calm.

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