What to Do When Your World Shakes

Last weekend started like any other normal Friday. Family night, grilled burgers, weekend music playing through Google Home. The next day we got to celebrate our dear friends’ engagement. Sushi, wine, happy tears. Life was good.

We came home Saturday night to a dizzy puppy who was noticeably falling over. The Emergency Vet told us that it was probably vertigo and possibly inflammation. They sent us home without medication and without answers (just the suggestion to take him to a neurologist if things got worse.)


Sully is our 3 year old rescue pup. He runs faster than all the other dogs at the dog park and loves licking feet – ew. He is a part of our family. You haven’t experienced love until a sweet red head comes running down the stairs to greet you after work every day.

Sweet Sully kept declining until he couldn’t walk by himself or open his eyes and focus. His world was noticeably spinning (as was ours). We rushed him to our nearest 24 hour small animal specialists at UC Davis. I hoped that they would say it was an ear infection or something easily treatable.

The prognosis came: brain stem inflammation with a necessary MRI to see what was causing it and how to move forward. That was 4 days ago and things haven’t gotten much better. He can’t stand up or walk around, his brain stem is still swollen despite massive doses of steroids, and all we can do is wait. We haven’t given up on our sweet boy and pray daily for a miracle.

Now listen, I totally get that we are talking about a dog. But he’s our sweet pup and 1/3 of the Griffin Clan. He is the closest thing we have to a child and he has walked through so many huge life moments with us. We are basically the Three Musketeers.

We all experience world-shaking moments. They’re those things that only happen in your worst-case-scenario thinking. The things that grab you by the hair and pull you through the dirt. The things that blindside you and turn your world upside down until you are stripped of pride and agendas, just hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel comes quickly.

Whatever you are walking through, whether it’s expected or unexpected, the loss of a job, a health diagnosis, that breakup, or any other less-than-ideal situation, here are some 100% acceptable ideas from my tired heart to yours:

1. Cry

UGH. I know right. If you’re anything like me, crying is reserved for major frustration, onion cutting, and the occasional life altering moment. It feels vulnerable to cry, and so often I will think to myself, “Is this actually going to help or solve anything?”

But Oh Lord, there are moments. Let yourself cry. Instead of running from the pain, disappointment, or frustration, let yourself be in the moment – whatever that looks like. Cry in the shower, cry in the car, cry at that sad commercial, cry in your dog’s dog bed…

2. Reach Out

When life is falling apart, it’s really easy to pull inwards. Don’t. Sometimes life pulls you into a deep, dark cave with little light and even fewer answers. Find your people who will sit with you and build a fire.

Sometimes your cave is so scary that you don’t want to ask anyone else to come inside with you. The PPD, the health issue, the rocky marriage…the real stuff. But you would be surprised at just how willing and beautiful other souls can be when you need them most. Trust others. Lean on them. Cry on them. And thank them. Someday you will be them to someone else.

3. Reach In

There is this weird thing that happens when life hits you unexpectedly. You go into default/panic mode and just try to stay afloat. One of the best things you can do is to slow down, breathe, set down the chaos, and pick up peace. Or hope. Or joy. Or stillness. Or whatever else your soul is desperately needing.

This last week I have needed to find pockets to meditate, to center myself, to hear from the Lord, and to strengthen myself in Him. When your soul is in a dark season, it needs you more than anything. Be present with it, listen to it, hold that scared little part of you. Sometimes the best gift you can give to those around you is a present and grounded you.

4. Do Something You Don’t Feel Like Doing

This week was a blur of have-to’s. Have to make time to drive to Davis and back almost daily (sometimes more than once), have to do the dishes, have to go to work, have to shower and feed myself. Trauma tends to make you cut off everything that is not a necessity. Mani/pedi? No. Shopping? No. Enjoying my favorite show? No. Seeing people? No. No. No. All no.

But the problem with this strategy is that we are cut off from being refilled. If we only do the have-to’s and cut out the want-to’s and like-to’s, our energy tank will be running on fumes in no time. The pockets of joy, lightness and fun, although they feel unnecessary, are completely vital. I want to walk out of this season stronger and more committed to loving wholeheartedly instead crawling out of it an empty, tired mess.

5. Be Thankful for the Little Wins

You showered and went to the grocery store today? Good job! Your loved one showed a small improvement or had a good day? YES! You watched something that made you laugh? Perfect.

Don’t lose sight of the tiny, seemingly insignificant wins. Search them out like little jewels in your dark cave. There are always little positives – make it your job to seek them out and be obsessively grateful for them.


What do you do when your world falls apart? How do you pick up the pieces? Leave a comment below.


(( If you would like to donate towards Sully’s medical bills, here is the Go Fund Me we started. 100% of funds raised are going towards our $4,000-$7,000 bill to save our little one: https://www.gofundme.com/saveoursully ))


One thought on “What to Do When Your World Shakes

  1. Wonderfully written and oh so true. When my husband died a short three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, the only things that got me through were my Lird, the love of family and friends, and being able to hold my dogs or horse and cry. Doing something normal in a time when my world was ripped apart made me know that somehow I would get through the hell I was experiencing. “Seek joy” became my goal. God bless your precious family. You are in my heart.


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