My husband and I bought a paper shredder yesterday.

It’s not a remarkable purchase, nor an expensive one, but strangely enough it’s been a lifechanging one.

Thirteen years ago marked the beginning of one of the most difficult periods of our lives.

Our business was struggling, my mother was dying and, unbenownst to us at the time, termites were eating the home right out from under us.

It was period where the black dog bit the hardest, hanging on with the razor sharp teeth of hopelessness and despair.

A litany of other things happened as well, an almost weekly series of setbacks, that tested our resolve to carry on.

Getting by was a day-by-day affair.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Indeed it did.

One step in front of the other, if we could finish the day together, alive, and at least a basic meal in our belly, then it was enough to keep us going for one more day.

They were tough days and I wept through some of them (which if you know me, I don’t do often).

Seasons change

But these things are seasons – although this one lasted nearly seven years.

And when it did end, it was the dawning of a new day when all had been blackness for so long.

And with the light of the new day, we were able to see things more clearly – within ourselves and the world around us.

The darkness changed us, but only for the better, our relationship was forged by fire and together we are stronger for it. Individually we are stronger as well.

I was once asked why I always appear so calm. The answer is simple: I’ve been through hell and I know you can come out of it on the other side.

This period of upheaval and setback was the beginning of something new – a new career for us both with a purpose we can see will take us well into the future.

So, what does this have to do with buying an inexpensive paper shredder?

My husband and I went through the filing cabinets from our old office and pulled out paperwork – receipts, bills, tax information, mortgage statements.

It was time to say good bye to all of those things. The time required by the Australian Tax Office was over, we were free to dispose of them.

How liberating it was to be reminded of those tough, depressing days; to know that they are over and we can dispose of them.

We’re enjoying this season of sunshine but we know that it won’t last forever. Change is inevitable like the setting and rising of the sun; the turn of the seasons.

There is tomorrow

We’re grateful for the moment; the now; confident to take chances, to assert what we know to be true about ourselves and the world around us.

Matthew 6:25-33 25: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Even if you’re not at all religious (and this is not intended to be a sermon), just know this: no matter how tough life gets, it’s worth living. If a year is too far to look in the future, look to the next month; if a month is too far, then look to tomorrow; if tomorrow is too far, then take it minute by minute because the longer you’re here, the closer you come to emerging from the other side of your darkness.

Seek help when you need it, be grateful for your next breath, have courage to make it to the next breath, have faith that this is not the end.

When it is over shred the experience as we have done this these papers, and turn it into something useful.

I believe you can do it.