“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
I admire courageous people. Last week my sister in law’s grandfather passed away and she made a beautiful eulogy at his memorial. While I can only imagine her grief, she spoke with love, gratitude and respect. I admire her strength under such difficult and sad circumstances.
I am having trouble with courage these days. While I had several months of positive medical news, sadly, I am once again dealing with some troubling obstacles. New medical problems stemming from the effects of my spinal cord injury and once again I am faced with the medical problems and the demons of Dr. Liar. I never thought I would be facing new problems seven and a half years after Dr. Liar hit my spinal cord. It leaves me scared and confused about the unknown and what might still be around the corner.
During my most recent session with my shrink, he told me it was okay to feel the emotional pain of this most recent medical disappointment, to be mad at Dr. Liar and God, and to allow myself time to also be sad with the shock of this news. He also indicated in time I would pick myself up as I had done in the past and would get through this…just as I had gotten through all the other setbacks. Hearing those words were comforting, but it didn’t erase the fact I was once again at war with more medical issues and Dr. Liar.
In addition, I have had my feelings hurt these past few weeks by the very people I thought were there to lift me up and help me re-gain my confidence. To these people I am struggling with being able to say the right thing when they say the wrong thing. I used to be able to immediately speak the correct response when someone would say something inappropriate or hurtful. It’s not that I want to hurt someone’s feelings, but I also don’t want to be a doormat. I want to say the appropriate thing. When someone treats my family or me unfairly, shouldn’t I speak up and demand respect? However, at the same time, I also like to think about things before I say it. Once words are spoken…they are forever out there. “You can never un-ring a bell.” Sadly things have been said to me that can’t be un-rung.
While I know people treat you the way you allow them to, I am struggling with seeing the person I used to be slipping away. I am no longer the strong, self-confident woman I once was. I know the people around me see me as a much weaker individual who is far different from she was in 2005. In many ways, as I have written before, I wouldn’t go back to that person; however, in some ways, I am tired of having to explain myself, the reasons I am medically retired and justify to others the decisions my family and I have made. I am also tired of people not being responsible for themselves and blaming others for all that is wrong in their lives. I want adults to take ownership for their problems and stop asking for handouts.
I also want to shout from the rooftops when I hear people complaining about the smallest, most non-important things. Try focusing on serious medical issues for many years and you will know what is important and what it means to stress over something truly critical. The quote by Augusten Burroughs — ‘when you have your health– you have everything’ certainly rings true.
People seem to be stressing in excess about money, politics, gas prices, family dynamics, etc. I understand many of the stressors personally, after all, our family went without my husband’s income for a year, our medical insurance coverage decreased while our medical bills increased, and our regular bills certainly didn’t go away. However, to put things in perspective, I have been thinking about a friend who recently went to the hospital thinking she had suffered from a stroke. Sadly, instead of leaving the hospital with a treatment plan, she was told she has brain cancer and just months to live.
My friend is demonstrating true courage. She is facing death and getting her affairs in order. Under the circumstances, I am not sure how I would react or what I would do. When I heard the news I immediately thought back to the post I wrote regarding Richard and Kristine Carlson’s book If You Had an Hour to Live. Have I drifted away from what is important in life and gotten too bogged down in the nonsense? Am I once again sweating the small stuff? Or, like my shrink said…should I just allow myself time to feel sad and mad and pick myself up when I am ready?
Whatever the case, I want to work on being more courageous. Napoleon Bonaparte summed it up nicely when he said “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”
©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2012.