Sunday, September 22, 2013

When Life Feels Empty

We could hear each other's breathing.

There was a pause.

Time was standing still.

I knew he was going to share something important...

...something deep and symptomatic:
"You know, Vidar... I've pretty much achieved what I set out to do. Money is not an issue. People know my name and I'm probably perceived as a glamorous celebrity. But you know what..? Sometimes life just feels so empty. In brief moments I feel lonely. My life is filled with people, but real friends are missing. I don't feel as happy as I thought I would be once I reached this point of success in my life..!"
I was talking with yet another CEO.

Talking about what really matters!

It happens a lot.

Underneath that shell of perfect appearance...

...there's always a vulnerable and sensitive person with basic needs.

A boy or a girl that deeply suffers, from time to time.

Life has a way of getting to us.


Getting Personal
These are priceless moments. I wouldn't miss them for all the world. It's one of the many things I love about what I do; personal and meaningful conversations.

It usually moves through stages. During the conversation we dig through three or four layers of problems. Eventually we reach the essence of why the company and some departments are not performing as they should. We've agreed on the needed focus. Then comes the personal stuff and profound reflections. Funny how that works.

I've learnt that very few people come to experience constant richness of life. A state of mind and heart where we feel deeply and fully satisfied, peaceful and happy. Most people experience life as a roller coaster. This need not be!

We rush through life running towards what might seem desirable goals and dreams, but then we arrive and discover... what?! Nothing?

The pursuit was a thrill. We sacrificed a lot. We paid the price, but on the way what really mattered - long term - did not get the needed attention. Important relationships and people were lost to us, books remained unread, health is deteriorating and our conscience is somehow screaming at us.

STOP! Think..! Am I headed towards what really matters..? Or rather, am I doing now what I know I should be doing?


Just Pause
You may want to stop reading now. From here on I'm going to get personal, and you probably have a different point of view. That's fine. You don't need to agree with me. In fact, I'm not asking you to keep reading. If I've inspired you to just pause for a second, I'm glad.


Divine Help
Today I'll share what 'Ive found trumps all else:

One evening, many years ago, before retiring to bed, I felt sad and depressed. I could not explain why, but I knew the feeling very well. I'd been working really hard all day, for weeks, and I felt like a failure. I knelt down and prayed. I poured out all my feelings to my heavenly Father. I felt numb. I didn't want to pray, but I did it anyway. I felt like I had no one else to turn to. Afterwards I got into bed and slept like a baby.

It wasn't until the next morning that I realized all my feelings of depression had left me during the night. Since then I've prayed like this many times, always with the same outcome. It has come to me in different ways, but every time I've received the needed comfort and peace of mind. What a wonderful gift. I don't claim to be special; in fact, quite the opposite. I've just come to know that God really will help when we ask for it in the hour of need.

Here's the irony: Many of us ignore divine help when we need it most. We ignore it during those times when God really could reach us at a moment we indeed might recognize it and know Him. In my opinion, the most beautiful scripture that explains the divine relationship we have with our Father might be from the Doctrine and Covenants section 130 verse 22:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
God really sends his Spirit to help us. I know it.

It does help to keep returning to simple acts of kindness and service to others (preferably in secret), but in the end: I know God will not forsake me when I really need him, regardless of how I'm doing.