Solace is defined as comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.
Recently, I posted to my personal Facebook page about an experience I had with finding solace. Days before the post I had been struggling. This struggle was a familiar one; feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, confusion, onset of crying, and silence. Yep, depression was trying to slide its way back into my life. I was fresh off just my first conference as a keynote speaker. It was a glorious triumph! I had spoke my truth and offered encouragement and was able to deliver just as I had dreamed. The entire conference itself was a testament to the words that I live by daily, do it anyway. This was me living out my dreams of empowering other women to apply and live out their own mantras. I should have been ready for the tests to come.
I truly believe that when we begin to act on any endeavor, that it is sent out into the universe and as soon as we begin doing, the tests come. I felt as if I had been jumped by depression. As if it grew arms and literally suckered punched me. This particular bout had me on the ground and was kicking my ass y’all! I found myself crying out of nowhere and I was overly sensitive to everything. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t call on my loved ones. I did exactly what I always do: sink. I had trouble sleeping and things that should have been normal tasks, became overbearing. Seriously, laundry is not that hard. Yet, I found myself in the laundry room feeling unappreciated as a mother because the boys left their laundry unsorted. This is what depression does. It tricks us out of being happy. It makes small tasks seem gargantuan and whispers falsehoods. Even though I was sinking, I started to recognize the small instances of joy. I watched some Facebook videos of people demonstrating kindness. I would see posts of friends reporting out their personal wins and hit the like button. The more I paid attention to the good happening, the more my spirit began to float to the surface. I jammed to uplifting music. I played with my toddler. I was getting lifted! My sister asked me to fix her dinner and that’s when I had an epiphany; my solace is in my service to others.
Like I wrote in my post, “when you actively and intentionally begin to align yourself with God’s plan (speaking at the conference), you can’t stop thinking and dreaming of ways to SERVE! Our lives are not our own. Some of you all are stuck or stagnant (or sinking) because you forget that your life is part of something bigger. These last few days, my mind was grey (I confessed). I couldn’t figure out what it was that I needed. Sure enough, I found solace (focusing on the good) and just like that I got back to what I know, service. I was making my sister dinner and God began to pour into me (this is where is gets good y’all). He was giving me ways to serve and showing me all the resources around me to bring it into fruition. Y’all I burst into tears! I can’t help but to shower folks with love because it is how my own cup gets refilled,” I wrote.
I realized after the post, that my solace-that comfort that I didn’t know I was seeking-is in service to others. I realized that the not knowing what I needed was my sign that I needed to be poured into. I had given the conference my all and I needed to be filled up. Service is how God fills me up. When I step outside of myself in service to others, whether through deed or word, I grant myself the opportunity to connect to God. Service brings joy not only to others, but to the server. God is moved and He begins to reveal Himself. I had to get outside of myself to find solace. The tools of depression-loneliness, silence, and hopelessness-run amok in our minds first and then manifests outside of ourselves in our behaviors like crying or not getting out of bed.
If you are in the grey or maybe you are in the darkness, wherever you are solace is closer than you think. It is in a child’s smile, it’s in kind words, it’s in letting a car out at busy intersection. It can be found in the melody of your favorite song. Solace is in remembering those moments of joy in your life. It’s reminding yourself that your life is purposed not just for to enjoy, but for others to discover that same joy from your story. Step out of yourself. Reread a good book. Take a walk. Pull out old photos. Watch a good movie, I recommend Disney’s Coco. It will fill your heart with more joy and appreciation than you could imagine. Trust me. Finding solace requires a small bit of courage to step outside your mind and to just look around you. It’s really quite simple.