By Star Young
Oprah calls it her ‘Aha’ moment. Some say it’s their ‘light bulb’ moment. For others it may be when they ‘hit rock bottom.’ I call it my ‘kneed’ moment, on my knees in need. Whatever you call “it”, it’s all about a personal revelation that can change your life.
During my divorce, the marriage counselor suggested I attend Al-Anon meetings. I was hesitant to go, skeptical that it would help. A friend in a similar situation also wanted to go, so we went together. At the first couple of meetings, I felt like an outsider. Within three months, I started to see similarities. At six months, I realized that it was my reality. After a year of Al-Anon as well as personal and marital counseling, I accepted the fact I had no control of my chaotic, roller coaster life.
Early one morning in my red living room that was now my prayer room, I felt helpless and hopeless in my situation. What else could I do? Who else could I forgive? What else can I try? Though I never claimed to be perfect, and I have my own set of faults, I am traditionally what you would call a good person. How was this happening to me? In counseling I eagerly worked to make things better. I believed in Dr. Phil’s advice to earn your way out of a marriage, especially when children are involved but I also felt somehow that I was losing myself in the process. That morning as I started to pray, the words wouldn’t come. Instead a guttural cry escaped me. I began to cry and couldn’t stop. As the tears flowed all the pain and helplessness overcame me. I had no choice but to give up and release any last attempt to control or fix anything or anyone. I let go and let God completely takeover.
I had felt that similar utter despair once before in my life, when my 15 year old brother was killed in an unsolved murder. A senseless death that made no sense and my family struggled with all the whys and all the unanswered questions. During that time, someone gave me the book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Rabbi Harold Kushner. His premise is that suffering is not a punishment of a cruel God but rather that in life, bad things happen to good people. Sometimes there are bad people and there are bad events. Rabbi Kushner writes, “We could bear nearly any pain or disappointment if we thought there was a reason behind it, a purpose, to it. But even a lesser burden becomes too much for us if we feel it makes no sense.”
Genocides and other tragedies that continue today are examples of senseless acts. Even with smaller, thoughtless and inconsiderate acts when someone hurts us, it is hard to understand why. When bad things happen, we can spend so much time blaming, vilifying and asking why we lose all perspective in fear and anger. Often in life, those questions are unanswerable and can be pointless to keep asking when there are often no rational answers. At some point we have to ask ourselves what we want to focus on – simply put - the past or the future. We have to change the question to "Now that this has happened to me, what will I do about it - survive, thrive or die?”
At that moment in my red living room as I surrendered all to God, I heard and felt Him as though the streaks of sun in the room had grown into arms that were gently holding me. At that “kneed’ moment, my ultimate need for peace was met. I had the clarity of what I needed to do. I had to let it all go. I had to surrender to peace. To accomplish peace, I had to give up trying to understand why it was happening. I could not make something rational out of something that was so irrational. Just like putting a square in a round hole.
My perspective changed. I knew that if nothing else, I could change me by changing my focus. The serenity prayer resounded to me, the call of sanity to me. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
God doesn’t cause bad things to happen but God can work all things for good, if we let Him. There wasn’t a master plan that made this happen. It was all free will. Now it was my free will to choose whether I live in the past of pain, sorrow, blame and regret, or to look to the future of hope, possibilities and new realities. It didn’t happen overnight, but that kneed moment changed the direction of my life when I surrendered on my knees to my need for peace, rather than my quest to fix, understand or justify.
You’ve heard the A.A. motto, “One Day at a Time.” In our times of distress it can become one second at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. In our greatest time of need we must carefully choose our words, thoughts and actions. If we live consciously, we can feel our body’s reaction to our emotions. Even the smallest slight can set us off, like a car cutting us off can completely change our mood. If we live consciously and mindfully then we can use our free will to make better decisions and have better reactions.
This is my “Think It, Say it, Do It” mantra. Be careful for you will grow what you feed by your thoughts, words and actions. Are you growing love, peace and happiness, or fear, pain and regret? Throughout our lives there are big and small “kneed moments” where our needs will drive our free will to answer the questions, "Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it -- survive, thrive or die?” Will you let go of what you cannot control and focus on what you can? Will you focus on a future of love, peace and positivity or stay in the past of negativity, fear and pain. The choices we make in our #kneed moment, will directly affect our journey on our way to our #happily 4ever after.
Star Young is an entrepreneur and Fortune 500 award winning executive. Ms.Young is a certified excellence coach and a trained facilitator of Edward Deming Continuous Improvement. In addition, she has been a talent for CBS syndicated programming, as well as a co- founder of the Beauty Spot and author of Smart Girlfriends Guide series.