During the last week, I have had a chance to read blogs from several beautiful, wise virtual friends
who are going through many types of pain. I cried with them as I learned from the lessons they share, the beauty they find in life, even during their trials (or maybe it is more correct that they find beauty especially during their trials).
My life has not been free of trials, pain or difficulty. However, the more I live through, the more I see that the sweetest blessings I have recieved have been those that came in the middle of a trial. I have had uncountable numbers of miracles-miracles of timing, when the exact person that I needed was exactly where I needed them to be, with the tools/equipment/experience that I needed at that moment.
Every life has hardship. There are basically only 2 choices.
A)Deal with it,
If you choose option A)--Deal with it, you have two further choices:
A) Deal with it well
B)Deal with it poorly.
There are MANY variations of "dealing with it poorly". I will let you observe those for yourself (hopefully from a safe distance).
In my opinion, "dealing with it well" takes:
faith and prayer
a sense of humor
a sense of gratitude.
Prayer for me is not a "weak" or "passive" option. Prayer is a very real power, which even non-believers have studied and found gives both physical and mental health benefits. Prayer not only reassures me of a loving Heavenly Fathers interest in, and care for my individual life (which is pretty darn amazing, when you think about it), but I have had prayers answered so many times that I cannot doubt its efficacy.
A sense of humor serves you very well when your only options are to laugh or to have a total, sobbing breakdown. Sadly, these two options present themselves together fairly often in my life. Being the mother of a child with multiple neurological handicaps gives me this choice all the time. Wait--now that I think about it, I should have said "Being the mother of a child...gives me this choice all the time" that would have been more correct.
Motherhood moves these two options to the forefront of your life like nothing else can. When you walk into the living room (like a certain sweet young mom that I know) to find that your angelic children have thrown an entire (extra-large, family sized) canister of flour all over--and then thrown cups of water all over that, so that instead of having a huge floury mess to vacuum up, now you have a huge flour paste mess--you know you are deep in the forest of motherhood. Laughing through tears is permitted.
"Making Flour Angels"
My mom, above her hospital bed, when she was diagnosed with acute, agressive leukemia the week of her 50th birthday, had 2 signs posted:
"How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans!"
and the other said
"Never knock on death's door--Ring the bell and run--He hates that!".
That is one of the reasons she is my hero.
People would tell her all the time "Oh, I could never have that many children--I just don't have the patience!" To which she would invariably respond "I didn't have the patience when I started!" Patience comes one crisis at a time. Trust me--laughing is better.
A sense of gratitude is amazing. It changes the focus of your life from an inward looking perspective "oh poor me, I don't have_____" to an outward looking perspective, where you can see how much you really do have. If you are trying to live a grateful life, you will still have times where it is hard, but you will find yourself forcibly jogged from your little rut of self pitying gloom to see how good you really have it--if you pay attention.
Two examples from my own life--both on days where I was feeling very sorry for myself, deep in my own dark little "pity party". One was a day where I was missing my mom quite dreadfully. Two news items were brought to my attention--one the suicide of a father, who had held in his sorrow,stress and sadness until he could no longer cope, and the other a mother who was in a deadly car accident. The children of these people also lost their parents, but unlike me, did not have a grace period of several months to spend precious, aware moments saying goodbye. I am so blessed.
The other was a day when being SmallDaughter's mother had me at the end of my tether. I was (once again) wallowing in self pity, thinking how hard my life is--she needs watching every second, 24/7, she pinches and bites when she is frustrated, and has no way to communicate what she needs or thinks or feels, she ... (on, and on, and on) when I started talking to another mother in the waiting room at therapy. She was there, waiting for her son to finish his therapy. Her son, who was around the age of LargeBoy, who had been a bright, creative, noisy boy, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the surgery and treatments had saved his life, but he could no longer talk, walk, take care of himself in any way--and the tumor had reoccured. (If you really need a dose of gratitude, hang out in a pediatric waiting room and find out how good your life really is!) My problems were instantly reduced to the tiny, miniscule things that they really are. Gratitude saves the day again.
I live a very blessed life.