Moises: When hope is out of sight

NATHANIEL: Hi, Singlestalk. I heard you speak in one of the conferences this year. Your speaker introduction and your presentation appeared like you had it all figured out. I’m sending this email because I’m close to giving up. This is my fourth company as a software developer. I graduated with honors. But I’m not getting anywhere. Things are not picking up. If we throw in my dad’s passing last year because of Covid-19 and my brother taking his own life three years ago, it seems like when God was giving away problems, I was on top of the list. How did you get to where you are today? Do you have problems too?

DJ: Things aren’t always easy for me. While I didn’t grow up in poverty, I’ve had devastating experiences. I was a fat kid and you know we’re favorite targets of bullies. I learned early on that rock bottom has a basement! There’s this movie starring Julia Roberts. I can’t recall its title. But there’s this scene when her character was on the floor of an empty corridor, distraught and with a cigarette in one hand. A bellman passed by and told her, “This, too, shall pass.” I still carry that line with me.

I suggest that you rethink your situation. It’s tempting to try and solve everything at once. But just like cleaning your house for example, nothing gets finished if you attempt to do everything at once. Narrow your vision to one problem at a time. Categorize your problems according to how they impact you. Trust that as long as you’re moving forward, you’ll make it to the other side.

Belief in a Divine Power also helps us get back to our feet. In my case, it’s God. I swear I need not pray not to be led into temptation. I already know the way! I’ve had encounters with God’s reps who are sadly making Him look bad. They taught me the hard way that a person’s character is shown through his actions, not where he or she sits on Sunday. Even the number of pious brothers and sisters he or she has. They also don’t change the truth—God is good not because we’re good but because He is good. Having Him as constant to draw strength from keeps me strong.

Asking for help is a brave thing to do. I was diagnosed with clinical depression three times. The first was when I was in my twenties and working for a multinational. The doctor told me she’d tell my manager if my depression would recur. Life already gave me lemons. She squeezed them in my eyes. Unfortunately, there was no legislation yet regarding mental health. If this was a movie, she’d share equal billing with my colleagues. If Zombies would eat hearts, they’d be safe. The whole drama, however, taught me not to stew in resentment. They only weigh us further down. While there are people who’ll leave you or put you in lemons, trust as well that there will be people whose lives have given them vodka. They’ll party with you. Along the way, I met my tribe who became my lifelong friends. There’s also this really kind priest. A good therapist too. I’ll privately email you their contact details. They can help you figure the cause and offer coping strategies that work best for you.

Be kind to yourself. I was canceled, ghosted, gaslighted. Thank goodness we now have words to describe them! How people behave is outside our control. Focusinstead on what’s within your power. Your life isn’t falling apart. Your thoughts are. Clean out all those self-deprecating thoughts. The practice of letting go of the uncontrollable can be worthwhile. Go take a break, exercise like running or walking, spend time with loved ones and where you are supported and celebrated. Do what you love instead of grinding through the day merely crossing off all tasks you need to do.

Life is like a roller coaster ride with breathtaking scenery. Sometimes, there are just moments that it makes us want to throw up. But the ride can give us lessons, assets that will help us become stronger and more capable not only in facing headwinds but in achieving our goals in life. Things—both good and bad—one day will fall into place. But first you have to decide to let them happen not to you and for you.