Courage By Design

As many of you have read, I’ve had the strange privilege of serving as witness to others’ courage as they riffle

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through the trials of their lives.  Be it joblessness, intolerable pain, verbal or physical abuse by a life partner; or dealing with a debilitating disease.  This courage that I speak of comes in different forms; it comes by way of those dealing with the situation/disease firsthand, as well as, those around them; those who love them and must watch from the sideline, feeling helpless and paralyzed at the overwhelming feat that lay ahead for their loved one (and for them).

In my life, I’ve lived through a similar situation after the death of my father.  Though he died when I was only a year old, there was still the feeling in the air  and that (I believe) is what a child picks up on.  Children pick up on those feelings of loss and they immediately absorb them thinking (I know I did) that they are the cause.  I’ve since come to grips with this and have reached the understanding that this was a situation I had no control over.  More importantly, this was a situation that perhaps was necessary for the development of making me who I am today.

Ah!  I can hear the wheels turning in your minds and feel the glares as many of you are wondering; what kind of twisted mind would think such nonsense?  You see, I tend to believe that all that is around us happens for our benefit.  All of it, the good and the bad.  It is all there for our benefit.  Just as a forest fire is, on its surface, bad as it has had such a destructive affect.  Truly, what it has promoted is new growth beneath the scorched earth and brush.   A “rebirth” if you will.  So, yes, in my twisted mind, I liken these experiences to that of a forest fire.  There are miracles within the devastation.

We often watch as someone struggles through a situation and think, ‘life’s not fair’.  And you know something?  Life isn’t fair; it’s not supposed to be.  In this life we are here to enjoy all that we can, while we learn all that we can.  Learn about our own personal growth.  And, hopefully, in the midst of all that learning, we have the pleasure of Love.  Loving that special partner and making love with them; or loving a child that we’ve had the pleasure to raise; or loving a parent, a friend; this list goes on.  Within ALL of this pain, we grow; we LOVE.

I was just reminded by a friend’s predicament.  This person has a very debilitating disease and recently had yet another stroke that left them with no memory of who those  people were that surrounded them.  What’s worse is they have lost all memory of their own talents, of which they have many.  Now, I cannot begin to imagine what this wonderful person goes through.  I can, and do have a glimpse of what their family goes through as I went through something similar with my mother.  The frustration and  helplessness is unimaginable.  And you truly have no idea what steps to take next.

So, one might ask, “Ann, how is it that this situation is good?”  To this I would have to say that the learning goes all around.  To my friend, yes; but mostly for their family and friends.  After caring for my mother, I know that I see the world through a completely different pair of eyes and with so much more compassion.

Wouldn’t it be great if there weren’t disease?  Possibly.  And I say this because as I remember my mother’s dementia and our time together, we had some wonderful days, some wonderful times together.  I’ve made it no secret that my mother was living her nightmare; but, she did it with grace and beauty.  Who is to say that that wasn’t in the plan?  That SHE wasn’t the teacher with us as the students?  I believe people are learning from her example still, six years after her death.

In this life, all we truly have is each other.  And, we have two choices in any situation; that being our reaction.  We can react well or we can react poorly.  We can choose to do, whatever it is, from a place of love; or we can choose anger and frustration.  The bottom line (advice I got from one of my ‘Courage’ angels) is that we have no control over most of what happens to us; so we might as well have fun while we are living this life.

I’m going through a bit of grief… yep, it has hit me like a BRICK.  But, when I sit back and really think about this, I realize that this too shall pass.  What is ailing me is nothing!  At least this heaviness in my heart will ease, at least that pain that feels like a split in my heart muscle, will mend.  Will it ever completely go away?  Probably not, but I know that I will continue and I can enjoy my family, my Honey, my friends, my talents, for they are here, now.

It is never a good idea to compare our lives to the other and never a good idea to think in terms of “what if” or “remember when” for the only constant is change.  But it does give me solace to know that there are tiny miracles in every situation.  They can be very difficult to see at times; but I assure you, they are there.  Sometimes, it’s those miracles that we must focus on.  Courage, like miracles, is all around us and is not necessarily grandiose but is always by design; for we all live it, every day.

Courage!!!

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