It took me a few years to be able to concentrate enough to read again. My son who was 17 gave me a book he read for school and said it was easy and I would love it. It was “Heaven is for Real.” He was right- I loved it. Then I realized my brain can read and comprehend again and I started another book he gave me, “Proof of Heaven” and I loved that one. He gave me another one from his business class and I didn’t want to read it- I had heard about it for years and I didn’t want to read about the extreme heartache. “Man Search For Meaning”. This is a book about survival and the sources of strength to survive. Vitor Frankyl was a psychologist and survived the concentration camp Auschwitz in Germany. He writes about the experience from a doctor’s point of view. Finally, I dove in and read it and it changed my life and the way I look at life. If you haven’t read this book, read it. It made me feel if he can get through that experience and not only survive but take something meaningful from it, I certainly can. The book wasn’t full of sadness, it was full of thought. It was essential for me to read so I could grow.
As horrifying and disturbing as Frankyl’s history was, he realized something he had thought all along, and then it was proven to him that life is primarily a quest to find meaning in your life. He said most of the other prisoners with him died from a lack of hope, not from being abused or not taken care of physically.
Frankyl says, “He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW”. So I had to define a why or get clear on what it is. Most of my why was to be there for my kids. It has grown from there where my WHY is to help others along this journey to know that they can do this.
SO This is What I figured out– To find happiness again after loss, create a WHY!
Frankl saw 3 possible sources for meaning:
WORK (doing something important)
LOVE (caring for others)
COURAGE (during challenges)
I read another book that helped me find meaning in the loss. It is called Making Loss Matter by Rabbi David J. Wolpe. He said life is a series of loss- youthful dreams, first homes, ourselves, etc. Each one can teach us to change, grow, and go on. If woven correctly from the sadness, the loss can stitch a richer emotional fabric of our days. The only whole heart is a broken one, he says. When I embraced the loss, I actually felt better, not worse.
There are many people who have had setbacks that made them better like Michael Jordan, Einstein, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs just to name a few. They trained themselves to think about what they can learn from this.
I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.
WHY are you here? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________