God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. -The Serenity Prayer
Hope For Tomorrow. That sounds like the name of a soap opera. Perhaps it will be the follow-up to the book I plan to write called The Origins of Perfection. (Although that would mean I would have to have a book deal first, haha). But the phrase, Hope For Tomorrow actually stems from a fear I have. I didn’t even realize I had this fear until on the way home from my first twelve step meeting, a little over a year ago. I read an affirmation of hope in the newcomer’s literature that said:
I will be alive tomorrow.
I thought to myself, how did they know I had a fear of dying? I was surprised to see how much this affirmation resonated with me. I have shared about one of my lowest points where I didn’t want to live. However, when I began my recovery from codependency, suicide was no longer an option. As a complete turnaround, I uncovered a bizarre fear. I came to the conclusion that I have an overwhelming fear of death. Now this is not something unique to me. If we are alive, there is complete certainty that we will die, and many people have this fear. But what is unique to me are the experiences that have led me to this great fear. When I thought about the topic of hope, I came to the conclusion that,
LOSS AFFECTS HOPE
My own experiences with loss have compounded my fear of dying. As a result, it affects the hope I have for tomorrow.
In my case, it is the kind of loss that I have experienced. When you lose a loved one to tragic circumstances such as murder, it warps your view of a future. The future doesn’t make sense because at any moment, it can be taken away.
Anxiety builds as I wonder if I will ever get a chance to do certain things…will I ever figure out my purpose, will I ever fall in love, have a family, or become successful before I die? This is my “fear list.” There is so much I want “to see, to become, and to do (from the LOTR).” Will I be alive for it? Or will it all end tragically before I experience it?
I think this fear was magnified when I turned 35. I realized that at this age, I had outlived my sister by one year. So my “life clock” is ticking. I also felt guilty for outliving my sister.
This is codependency at its worst. Feeling guilty for being alive. Believing that my fate has to be wrapped up in another person’s fate. And living in fear because of it all.
So how do I find hope in this great fear? I wish I had a concrete answer. The only thing I can do is go back to the basics. Live in the present…for the moment. This slogan is well-known, but never ineffective:
One day at a time.
I understand this slogan now. That’s all I can do. It is in these moments of fear that I can only be present in this moment, for this very minute, finding joy in the very typing of these words. And in that I realize that the “fear list” I made before, well…
- I have a Purpose
- I am Loved
- My family is me, my mom, my Samson kitty, and my closest friends
- I am successful just by being born
And that is my truth, and my HOPE.