Sometimes miracles happen. Perfect days. Amazing experiences. Healing.
But then you are left with a basket of broken fish.
There is a story in the New Testament where Jesus performs a miracle to feed a large crowd. I don’t often write about the bible or specifically about Jesus. If you are not religious, please stick with me on this one… there is a point and it is neither political nor proselytizing.
That day, Jesus and his group planned a get away. But they were met by an excited flash mob. It was crazy.
We are told that the crowd was large. In the thousands. Humanity was gathered, in all of it’s diversity. Everyone was hot, sweaty. There was no shelter, and worse… no bathrooms. People had to fend for themselves that day, and there was not much to eat.
Jesus spent the day hanging out with the crowd. What he said, we will never know. He didn’t prepare any speeches, maybe his PR team was away for the day. I like to think that they just hung out, laughed a little, talked about what was happening around town and shared what was going on in their lives.
It was a good day.
1.In my view, this is the first part of the miracle: Hold onto the good days, even though you have to let them go. I get it, it doesn’t make sense. Life can be like that. There are days when what happens is meant just for you, it is exactly what you need. It feels like the old you is gone, better things are ahead, you are on your game and you make good decisions. Hold onto that memory, hold it tight.
Life can get you down, life can grind away the special moments and life can leave you with little more than echos.
Unfortunately, you have to let the good days pass, you cannot hold onto time. When you experience better things, know that life is not toying with you… you are being reminded that no matter what, you have a little eternity inside.
Keep in mind the good things. About yourself.
Because you will have days when you forget all of the good. You will say something that you didn’t mean, you may hurt someone you care about, you may curse, you may give up on yourself, maybe you relapse or you fall short of who you intend to be. Your better self stayed in bed.
Your life, who you are, is not defined by the bad days… the relapses… or the moods that make you want to lock yourself in the house.
2.Sometimes all that is left is broken pieces of fish, so do what you can: Give it away. What hit me about the story wasn’t that Jesus took a few fish and a few loaves of bread and then mixed it with a little eternity… feeding thousands of people with just a few fish.
What struck me about the story was what happened after everyone was full. After a great day together, all that was left was baskets of broken fish. One thing I know is that fish stink, they get slimy, they don’t keep well in the middle of a hot day. Let’s just say that fresh fish aren’t really meant for take out…
Even for Jesus, sometimes the good days end abruptly.
It happened to me this summer. On my way home from vacation and two disasters happened. Took me two days to get home and I guess Life saw fit to give me one disaster each day. First my bike rack fell off the trailer (even though I did everything I was supposed to do). And the next day, one of my trailer tires blew up.
In one moment, everything was gone. The good memories, the better days, the great experiences, the connection that I felt with my family. Gone.
Life can be like that. You work through a trigger, you face a difficult anniversary, your relationship ends but you keep it together this time. You feel like you are getting somewhere.
But then life hits you and the good feels like it is blown away from you.
When your day ends and all that you have is broken fish, it’s tempting to forget that you laughed, you had a good time, you felt good and that your belly was full.
Being left with broken fish doesn’t have to mean that the day was a waste, little more than wishful dreaming. Broken fish are a reminder, even if they smell. After the dust settles, you always have something that you can hold onto.
No matter what your mind tells you, the really bad days don’t last forever. You can breathe, you will get through it, you can find a way to keep things together. Even if you lose your Sh*t, you can get up the next day and try to make sense of what just happened.
We all do it.
When you face the really hard days, you don’t have to fake it. The hard days give you a gift… it may be unwelcomed, but it is still a gift: memories, a few lessons and the reality that you survived. Then you have something to share, something to pass on, you are wiser… even though you can still feel the bruises.
Keep in mind the good things about yourself. When life leaves you with broken fish, pass it on.
I hope that you enjoyed this article. It makes my day if you are inspired by something that I write. I invite you to read some of my other writing:
I write articles that talk about the kind of changes I am trying to make in my own life. I hope that my writing also helps you. My topics include addiction and mental health recovery, relationships, and personal growth. I work as an Addiction Therapist, an Editor for the Good Men Project and freelance writer, and Adjunct Professor at City University, Edmonton. But what is most important is that I have a family and I am in recovery from depression and anxiety. My mental health experiences are part of my personal University degree, but they do not define me.
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Keep it Real
Photo by Pat Pilon