Okay, full disclosure: I’m stealing the red light/green light concept from Matthew McConaughey’s memoir Greenlights. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it and don’t worry, there are no spoilers in this blog.
Now that that’s out of the way…
A few months ago, my family experienced a tragedy – something that completely pulled the rug out from under all of us and caused shock, confusion and pain. As McConaughey would refer to this – we experienced a red light. And that’s exactly what it was. This calamity had us all slamming on the brakes. It had us questioning ourselves, our roles in our family and our faith.
This red light event happened just a few days before we left on a much needed family vacation. I remember sharing with my husband that I was devastated; all I could see was the red glare urging us to a grinding halt. We’d all be going away together feeling broken with an oddly indescribable feeling of pain puncturing the enjoyment we thought we’d receive from our r&r.
My husband Ron responded, “But Danielle. At least we’ll all be together during this challenging time.”
And he was right. We bonded and healed as family on that trip. The sun didn’t quite provide that “feel good” vitamin D kick, and the food wasn’t quite the tasty treat I’d hoped for, but it was precious time spent together.
Within four or so days I could see that in some ways, my family needed this tragedy. We needed the wakeup call it brought and we needed the opportunity to deeply reconnect again after a heavy year. As McConaughey would refer to this – we experienced a green light. My family and I talked deeper, focused on each other, and leaned harder into one another more than I could ever recall. We’re now set up for a strong school year, all of us feeling more grounded, loved and understood than we have in years.
The next time a red light comes your way, it’s my sincere hope that you’ll remember my story and remain open to the possibility that the red light you experience may actually be a green light in disguise. Don’t lose faith when something unexpected or hard comes your way. It may just be exactly what you need.
PS – Here’s an affirmation to use when you’re experiencing a hardship, “I trust divine timing. I believe the Universe has placed challenges in my life so that I can learn and grow.”
PPS – When we’re emotionally hurting, it means we have unprocessed feelings. Put on some relaxing music and do your best to quiet your mind. When you’re ready, grab your pen and journal. Answer the following questions: How am I feeling? What do I need to do to comfort myself during this difficult time? How can I show myself and others love? Although I may not be experiencing it, what green lights may come from this experience?