The ramifications of helplessness in the chronically ill is a very sensitive topic and one that I hope I can do justice to. I have many times talked about how the chronically ill must grieve every time a part of their ability to do something on their own is lost and then comes the need for acceptance of where they are in life. Probably the hardest thing to accept is helplessness.
Helplessness comes in many forms and we give up personally when we are helpless to do whatever task it is that we are attempting to do, whether it be something like tending to one’s own personal needs or trying to plant a few seeds in a pot or fix your own dinner plate or even wash your own hair, or we feel helpless to deal emotionally with some event in life. No matter what it is, unless one is in the exact same place, it is hard to understand what it does emotionally to the person that is helpless.
image from www.lushquotes.com
I have lost the ability to do many things. I tend to focus on the positive and to try not to dwell on what I have lost but there are moments where we feel such a sense of frustration and loss that it can bring us to tears. I have projects that I have tried to work on over the past year or so and can not do it alone.My son offers to help but it is not something that is in his area of expertise. It makes me feel impotent to carry out this task and leaves me feeling defeated. I have to fight these feelings for they can take over if we are not careful. I have started work once again on these projects and am slowly making some headway.
The ramifications of helplessness in the chronically ill are the person losing the desire to keep trying, the person becoming filled with despair, and the person feeling frustration and loss that is as big and black as looking into a big empty volcano hole and the one that is feeling helpless feels like they are falling head first into that black hole.
“To my mind….. the more helpless the individual, the more it is entitled to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” Gandhi
I have had people tell me that they would do this or that for me and they mean well and it is nice to have the help but most people are totally clueless about the devastation that comes with becoming helpless. They are cavalier about what is happening to us, which makes us feel minimized or diminished. And their help is in actuality taking over whatever I am trying to do or taking it out of my hands because I am slow doing it.
As I normally do, I am going to use myself to explain and to paint a picture that I hope helps others to get a glimpse into what it means. I am helpless when it comes to putting my shoes on. I can no longer bend my legs up close enough that I can put my socks or shoes on. My son has to do it for me. I can not wash my back sitting in my shower chair and so my son, after I get wrapped in a towel, will reach in and scrub my back. And the list goes on. Over time, I have found some solutions such as wearing clogs that just slip on even in the winter and the snow when going to the van. Now, my son has no problem putting my boots on for me but sometimes I just want to do it myself.
When I had the radio frequency ablation, I was helpless to change the bandages that were on my lower back which was extremely embarrassing because the lower spine ones are down below the waist of my pajamas. But I must have it done and son is my caretaker and so he does it. I handled well losing the ability to cook and having someone else fix my food for me because I can still feed myself. And the list goes on.
Helplessness equates with dependency on another and none of us really like to be dependent on another person for our most basic needs. There are so many things I want to do and dream of doing. I want to take my photographs of the clouds and put them in a book and yet I am helpless to do it alone. I want to put my blog posts in a book but the helplessness comes because I get so exhausted and in pain just from trying to cut and paste and get it just like I want it. And I fight the urge to just give up. I want to go out on the patio but can not alone because there is no ramp out to the patio and if I go out the front door, there is a big heave gate that I can not open into the patio. People who can do often fail to see that some things are just impossible for the chronically ill to do alone.
Image from www.care2.com
Yes, you all know me well and I wear my mojo and I refuse to give up but I want to use myself so people can maybe get just a small look and a flickering of understanding of what helplessness is like even for strong people like me. And some have told me “oh I know. When I broke my leg, I was totally helpless”. Yes, that is true that a person with a broken leg is helpless to do many things. But the difference in someone with an injury like a broken leg and someone with an incurable chronic illness is that the broken leg will heal and the ability to do will return where a person chronically ill will continue to lose the ability to do things.
I am writing this because I want others that are not chronically ill to maybe get where they can look at us and see we are not just lazy or just do not want to do anything. We are really ill and in many aspects of our lives, we are helpless. We fight to keep going and to not lose the ability but it happens. Yes, I will admit there are some people in the world who fake or exaggerate how sick they are and that makes it even harder for those truly sick, but not all of us are exaggerating. In fact, the majority of the chronically ill are not so please do not let those that exaggerate or fake color your view of all of us. I am also writing this because I want those that are around us not take things out of our hands if we are taking too long to do it but to look at us and say “can I do anything to help?” And if we are at the point we can accept help we will tell you yes.
I remember someone who is a reader of my blog telling me how she was trying to get the snow off her car and she just could not do it and was standing there crying in despair and frustration at the feeling of being so helpless. Not one person came to help and just walked on by her. Helplessness has many ramifications. It can strip us of our dignity. It can strip us of our fight and determination. It can throw us into the pit of despair and make us quit fighting to keep going.
And when those around us look at us like we are just not trying or we are just lazy, then it causes us to pull into ourselves and we become isolated because we just can not take the judgment. And most of us do not want to keep drawing attention and keep saying we are disabled and can not do this or that. One of the most important things for a person chronically ill or disabled is to be able to accomplish for our own self-pride and to do things for ourselves as best we can. This may mean we do not do the kind of job you would but just doing the job can make us feel pride in ourselves. We have to learn to praise ourselves and be proud for ourselves when we accomplish something and we do not depend on the words “I am so proud of you” coming from others. For what happens when that person is no longer there? We are always with ourselves..
Please stop and look at us sometime and see our grit and determination but also see the tears that helplessness brings and step up and gently say “can I give you some help?”. That would mean the world to us. My aunt that I call “Mama” fell in a parking lot one time when it was summer and the black top was boiling hot. Not one person came over and asked her could they help her as she struggled to get back on her feet. She walks with a cane and has spinal problems like me. She had tears streaming down her face as the helplessness set in and her hands burned every time she put them on the black top to try to stand. Looking around she could see people just watching but no one offered to help. She finally managed to get herself up by hanging on to a hot bumper until she could pull herself up and slowly walk until she got into her car where she sat crying from the helpless feeling and burnt hands and knee. And that memory seared deep into her heart and the fear of being helpless has really set in.
We are not contagious. Most of us are not lazy or faking or exaggerating. We are people with chronic illnesses, some that you can not see if you look at us but that are slowly taking our bodies and as we lose more and more of the ability to do. And that feeling of being helpless, of being dependent on another begins to hover over us and we have to learn how to accept the reality of what is happening to us and know that our lives are changing in ways we never dreamed would happen. And when we need help and keep asking and no one is willing, the ramifications of that helplessness are staggering especially as it grows and we become more and more helpless in other areas of our lives.
People ask me how I handle this. I have my moments where I cry in frustration. It is not bad to feel frustrated or down about it. It is how you allow those feelings to dominate your life that matter. I might cry and then I shake my fist at it and say “you are not going to win” Sometimes beating that helplessness involves asking for help. We have to be willing to ask. Life is full of things that batter us and we may cry in frustration or pain but then we have to pick ourselves up and say we choose to not let the loss destroy us. It is our choice to decide how we are going to feel about our lives no matter how they are.
Sometimes at night I walk and look, carrying me places that are in my heart. When pain is high and I can not sleep, I walk around on these two feet. Sometimes I go down hallways of my past and look in rooms of my sons when they were little and see their slumbering faces. Such sweet trusting faces given to me and I stand there watching their little chests rise with each breath and stroke their cheeks.
So many places I would love to go and the echo of voices of long ago. I walk down dirt roads and come to old mule farms and see my great-grandfather with his sons training mules for the Calvary. Or I walk to the edge of the river bank and see my grandfather I never met playing with my father and cousins as they ride the boat in the river and my grandfather, who loves the kids, pretends to fall out of the boat to make them all laugh.
Sometimes I walk into the country house where my father was raised and up the stairs to the nursery and see him standing at the window as a child of seven watching his mother and aunts and uncles dressed in black following a horse-drawn wagon with a big wooden box on the back. I realize he has no idea what is happening as no one told him that his father died. Families did that back then, protected the children from death or at least they thought they did. And I realize that this young child’s life is about to be changed forever.
I walk across countries to meet friends I have met online in England, Australia, Canada and other places. Sometimes I sit while Helena cooks at their outside cooking pot and eat from their food…tasting flavors I have never had before.
image from www.thecommonwealthconversation.org
I walk to friend’s houses in other states, sit and watch the eagles fly across the water to the Island, walk on the beach, sit on the lanai and feel the breeze and sip coke and talk until dawn not wanting to leave.
Last night I walked down a dusty road in Tennessee and saw my great great great-grandmother named Betsy who was married to a Revolutionary soldier who died in war. She raised five big strapping boys who eventually moved to Tennessee leaving her behind in Virginia. But many years later, this five foot figure in a long black dress was seen walking down the dirt road and the sons looked up and stared and then in wonder realized it was their 85-year-old mother. She had walked with a wagon train from Virginia until she got close enough people could tell her how to find the place where her sons were and she walked the rest of the way alone. She was a strong woman and on her tombstone, it said simply “Betsy Pylant 108 years old”. I think she is part of where my mojo comes from.
Sometimes at night, I walk to places I would love to see, or I roam the streets of Rome with happy abandon. I visit countries and see the sights. I stop at the outdoor cafe and drink cappuccino or teas. I taste of culinary delights and smile in my dreams. I wander through the buildings looking at all the art there to see and walk on the cobblestone streets.
Oh yes, sometimes at night I walk with no power chair, no crutches just my feet on the floor transported by my mind. I think in awe that this must be somewhat what heaven is like with no pain or diseases to hold you back. I dance across meadows, feeling the cool green grass under my bare feet, picking fragrant flowers along the way. Oh yes, sometimes at night I walk.
image from blog.gaiam.com
Our minds are wonderful things and for me, when pain is high, I depend on mine to transport me to places that are kind and gentle. I tell my son “you know son, when I die, I will still be close by. You may smell my perfume or hear my laugh.” He says “I know, Mom. Just do me one favor and stay out of my bedroom, ok”. I laugh and we talk on.
Sometimes I walked and meet people I have always wanted to meet such as my Irish Ancestors and my Scottish, English, German, Canadian Ancestors, Steven Segal, Elvis Presley, Lauren Bacall, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Betsy Ross, Dr. Phil, Teddy Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe, Reba McIntyre and the list goes on. I unravel mysteries such as why did great-uncle Billy disappear? I sing songs or act in movies. It does not matter what, I can do it.
Oh, yes, sometimes at night I walk and feel my feet fly down roads. And when my journey is done, I open my eyes once again and see the oxygen hose and hospital bed and I smile because I know that sometimes at night I walk and these things do not hold me down. The mind is powerful if we use it and when I walk at night, the pain is left laying in this bed and I feel, smell, taste and hear all the beautiful places I visit.
Many people search the world over for that elusive thing called true love and yet they have failed to understand that unless they love themselves, they are not equipped to love someone else. If we do not know how to love ourselves and accept ourselves where we are, then how can we love and accept others? I have always said when I see people so desperate to have someone in their lives that if we can not live with ourselves by ourselves we will never be able to live with someone else. If you do not like or love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to like or love you?
Love is probably the most romanticized thing in the world. We are led to believe it is like Cinderella who finds her prince or Sleeping beauty whose prince finds her. But real, enduring love is not the one where the music plays the tune and we march off happy ever after into the sunset for the rest of our lives. Real love requires work. It means learning to share, learning to be forgiving and filled with compassion, learning to compromise, learning to love even when the person is not lovable and a willingness to say “I am sorry. I was wrong”.
Valentine’s Day with all it’s hype and flowers and candy have many people feeling unloved if they do not have a significant other, if no one sends them flowers or cards or candy or jewelry or whatever. People begin to see love as being what Valentine’s Day proclaims to be. And when all the hype is over, many have no idea what it really means to love someone “in sickness and in health”.
If we never learn to love ourselves, to forgive ourselves and to accept ourselves, then how can we do all these things for another? Many people think that happiness lies in possessions, places, event, people and all those things can be lost in a split second. The one thing you never leave behind is yourself. That is why true happiness lies inside us. We can lose everything and still be happy. We can be alone and still feel loved because we love ourselves. We have to put ourselves on the list of what is important and learn to deal with ourselves so that our relationships have a better chance of lasting.
Real love is not a fairy tale love. It is something that requires work daily. It is not fifty/fifty as I hear so many people say. It is 100/100 percent from both parties. And sometimes it is 150/150 percent from each person. It is not games played to get back at the other person or manipulate them. It is not demands and requests like I see so many doing today. It is honest, raw, caring, compassionate, giving, willing to give up for the other at times, and most of all it is loving the other person like you love yourself.
And real love is not something you rush into, not something you can force someone to do or trap them into loving you. Take your time and get to know the person you think you love so much because the first months of a relationship are like the honeymoon. Everyone is on their best behavior. Give it enough time to see the things that are not so loving. Everyone has those things in them. And then see if you can handle a relationship with them because contrary to what I see so many people, especially women say and do, you can not change the other person after you are married. They are who they are.
“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances.”
— Martha Washington
This quote says it all but I wanted to write on this because the quote just jumped out at me. A friend on Facebook had posted it and it says exactly what I try to tell people. I hear people tell me all the time “You are much worse than so and so but you seem to be doing so well and are so happy”. I tell them it is all in attitude. I choose to be happy and I choose to look for the positive and that makes a world of difference. I might be almost totally bed bound, can not do a lot of things others can and yet, I am happy because I choose to be.
image from livingwell7.com
I want to relate a story that happened during three of the four trips I had for radio frequency ablation a while back. There was this same older couple every time. One was the man having the RFA and he was obviously in pain, could barely walk, but he was like me, laughing and talking in spite of the pain. And then there was his female companion who could get around better than him and yet she sat there with her mouth turned down, complaining the whole time and was in general not a pleasant person to be around. And she will probably die a bitter old lady because in her eyes, life is bad, pathetic, unpleasant and you could not make her happy if you wanted to. She is determined to be unhappy and will counter everything and anything positive you say with a negative.
When he walked out from the RFA and said it was like his pain was taken instantly, she looked up with that sour look and bitterly spat out “well, I am not having it done. They can just keep giving me pain pills”. And uncrossed her legs, stood up and turned and started walking away with a cane that was doing more swinging than touching the floor. And the man turned to me and said with a smile for me not to worry, it would be alright. I did not tell him this was my second round. I just smiled and thanked him. And he turned to slowly hobble down the hallway with a smile on his face telling people how much better he was after the RFA. The female had left him way behind but he did not care as his pain was better even though he struggled to walk. That is the difference in attitude and he was and will live a happier life and do better than someone who has the negative complaining attitude.
I want to clarify what a positive, happy person is. A positive, happy person can still have down times. We can still cry. We can have days where the pain is so intolerable we can not move. I was that way last night as my leg pain got so intense that I could barely catch my breath and son was trying to help me get more comfortable. I cried tears of anguish at that moment. But a short time later after getting a little relief from meds, I was smiling and talking to him.
The difference is our attitude gets us back up and going at a lot quicker because we are feeding our bodies with positive vibes. We may be in high pain but we still see good. We see life as good in spite of how sick we are, how poor we are…whatever. We still see good. Negative people keep themselves in a blue funk depressive state..never see anything good in life, will isolate themselves and others find it hard to be around them and so they feel unloved and their bodies react in a negative way. Negativity affects your whole body, not just your attitude. It can affect your heart, your blood pressure, your stomach, etc. Attitude plays such an important part of living happy.
image from www.my2fun.com
I could not say it any better than this image above. Whether you think you can or think you can not, YOU will be right. So, if you have a negative attitude and speak in negative terms, your life becomes negative in behavior and that will be your life. And, if you have a positive attitude…and you speak in positive terms..then your behavior will be positive and that can become a habit worth keeping.
I will be having pre-op this week and surgery next week. I am working to have blogs my son can post for me but may miss a day or two. 🙂
I have heard often “life is not fair” and it took me years to change my perspective and realize that life is not being done “to” us but rather “for” us to teach us. Our experiences will teach us what we will never allow in our lives. A person that lives in a family with an alcoholic will decide either they will be just like the alcoholic member or they will never allow alcohol in their lives. A person that is abused decides that they will never allow abuse or they succumb to being the victim they were as a child and continue that pattern as an adult, either allowing the abuse or being the abuser. A person living in poverty will vow that they will never do without again or they will decide that money and all the benefits are just not that important. Life teaches us and what it teaches us is up to us and how we view things.
I believe a lot of our choices stem from the role we place ourselves in and by roles I mean the role of victim, survivor, or thriver. If we are in the victim modality, we will continue to believe that life is just being cruel to us and dumping on us and use the phrase “Why is this happening to me”. All we see is what is wrong and do not look for things that are right. If we are in the survivor modality, we are looking for ways to get past the hard things, looking for things to help us move forward and we focus on how “we” can make our lives better and not on how everyone needs to help us. And of course, when we are in the thriver modality, we are living our lives in such a way that life is good. That does not mean we do not suffer with pain or sickness or that we are not limited. It means that we do not use those things as stumbling blocks to a happy life.
I have had people tell me I have such wisdom when it comes to dealing with chronic pain and sickness and disabilities. The truth is no, I do not. I have a lot of experience in dealing with these things and have learned to allow life to teach me instead of beat me. I realize where my views are coming from in my past and realize which ones are holding me back and I work to change those views to ones that help me survive and thrive in life.
Life teaches us whether we realize it or not and it creates in us these “rules’ that we live by. Some are good and help us deal with life in a very positive way. And some are detrimental to us and lead us back into the victim modality. It took me years to become who I am and time spent studying myself and why I did this or that. That is part of the journey. We are the drivers of our own buses and should be. Sometimes we let the bus drive us. Becoming a survivor and thriver means getting back into the driver’s seat and not letting life drive us. Instead, we drive our lives where we want them to go.
I found the following very informative and very interesting.
Are You a Victim or a Survivor? By Patrick Doyle
10 Signs You Are A Victim:
1. You complain rather than act.
2. You talk about the same problems.
3. You are never able to get to resolution.
4. You are always looking to people to save you.
5. You don’t accept responsibility (always something or someone is to blame).
6. You take more than you give.
7. You are uncomfortable with being emotionally well.
8. You are in crisis more than you are not.
9. You make people around you tired because it is always some drama.
10. You tend to harm others rather than show mercy. (because it is easier to tear
someone down than to look at yourself and see what you do wrong and fix it)
10 Signs You Are A Survivor:
1. You are behaviorally active in moving toward hope.
2. You are willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to change.
3. You are willing to be uncomfortable for extended periods of time.
4. You do not give in to fear (you may have it but are not controlled by it).
5. You are willing to adapt to the reality you are in (not the one you hope for).
6. You learn from the circumstances you are in rather than deny them.
7. You are willing to use all of your resources to move toward change.
8. You actively seek help.
9. You resist panic and fear.
10. You have hope outside of yourself.
And I believe you learn a lot about a person by the people they tend to gather around and talk with the most. Those that are victims seek other victims to be with because they will reinforce how the person feels and encourage them in their victim mentality. Those that are survivors seek others that are survivors to be around the most because they encourage and inspire them to keep going. This is not to say that survivors never complain or never have down times. The difference is, survivors get back up, dust off their pants and keep working towards something better.Victims are content to lay back in the misery and stay there. They will tell you how hard they work, etc but you will not see much evidence of that. Always ….always choose to be a survivor and it is a choice.
If you see too much of yourself in the victim list, then maybe it is time to sit down and think about how you are acting and behaving. If you truly want to be a survivor, it takes working for it but it is not impossible. It means focusing your thoughts and actions on the positive and looking for the good instead of the bad. I worked hard to get to the survivor mode and I am proud of the changes I made in my life. I think anyone who has fallen into victim land can become a survivor but it takes more than just words. It takes changing your attitude.
image from floridachildinjurylawyer.com
He was just a child when she lost him
suddenly one day he was gone
she struggled to find answers
wondering what went wrong
she wanted to believe he was still here
like everyone kept saying was true
that the touch on her arm when she shed a tear
was really him saying please do not be blue
how was she to know for she could not see
was it just her eyes playing tricks today?
do little boys grow up out there?
somewhere in the galaxy far away?
Can he feel her heart full of care?
Is that him she hears when she is alone?
Does he know she wants to touch his face
Or just once call him on the phone?
she finds his colored pictures on the counter just so
She hears his favorite music from his bedroom door
just something that shows her how close he is
yet, she strains, she yearns for just a little more
one day she thought she saw him playing on the floor
with his blocks and cars scattered out
she thought it was a dream until she found the block
and her heart began to shout
He is here….he is here…I know it is true
for I saw him playing just so
sometimes it takes more than uttered words
for our hearts to really know
Before I start on dreams, I want to answer questions several of you have asked me and that is: Why do I reveal so much of myself and my inner being. Why do I hare my experiences with you all? I write like I talk and I think that you all have figured that out by now. But, I share myself because life can be tough and I feel like if others see that someone else has gone through things and is opening up about them, then they do not feel so alone with whatever is weighing them down.
I am a survivor and a thriver. I bloom where I am planted and I fight to make sure that my little corner here in my heart of happiness is not trampled on. And if I can share my experiences and inspire someone else, then I am willing to do it. Life is hard enough and when we read something and say “Oh man, I know how she feels because” or “Wow, she is talking about me right now”, then it helps make people feel a commonality and that in turn gives us strength. It is sort of like when two kids are going to go check out a scary place or room and they grab hands. Together they feel stronger and I think when we unite with each other even on an emotional level, we feel stronger.
So, today I am talking about dreams. I watched “Grey Gardens” the movie and the one theme of it was that both women had dreams and those dreams were taken from them for very different reasons and so they improvised with what they had. They became survivors in the worst of situations. It may not be what we personally want but for them it was a life of singing and dancing which were their loves.
image from www.tumblr.com
I believe dreams are what give us a reason to keep going. Will all my dreams come true? I am sure that some will not but it is so wonderful to lay here when the pain is high and dream of going back to Italy or dream of seeing the fence in the back yard completed and son’s workshop built. My dream for a high fence to be built and then to have it painted with a look of landscape is something I want so that when I sit on the patio in my power chair, I see flowers and trees and plants no matter if we are in a drought or not. I dream that one of those shows on landscaping that goes around and surprises people and does their whole yard comes to our house and landscapes and builds the fence. 🙂 Who knows, dreams can come true you know.
I remember being told as a child that I was a dreamer and was punished for it by parents and by teachers. No one stopped to see how to take that part of me and channel it like it should be. And it is my dreams that helped me survive and be the person I am today. I believe dreaming is what keeps us going especially when things are tough, like with chronic illness or disabilities or big losses. But, also dreaming just in general gives us something to work towards. Son and I dreamed of moving out here and living with less stress. Yes, we had to work for it. It took us a year to raise the money to move and to pack. And it took us two years before moving to pay off our debts. But, we did it and we made it here and we have our little house in a little town that is away from the pressures of hectic city life.
image from www.choosing-life-my-way.com
I have had people tell me that they dream of doing like we did but are afraid to do it. I ask them what is the most that could happen if they stepped out and went for their dream and their response is “We could lose what we have now”. My answer is that those things are only possessions. You can replace those. We got rid of so many things to accomplish this dream and we have all we need to live here in our dream. I learned that the more possessions you have, the more stressful it is. Sometimes you sacrifice to have your dream and if your dream is really driving you, then giving up things will not matter.
Dream dreams of the things you want in life. Dreams continue and new dreams pop up like us wanting the back fence up, but do not stop dreaming because that is what gives us the incentive to keep working. Dreaming is not only inspiring it is uplifting. I dream of Italy during the worst pain times and it distracts me from my pain and it gives me great joy. We also dream of what we want done to the house and the yard and we work to make those dreams come true. Dreams do not normally happen out of the blue. We have to work for them.
So my words today are whatever you do, do not let anyone trample on your dreams. They are yours and you have the right to have them and foster them. Work for your dreams and do not give up on a dream coming true. My dreams are still here and until I am no longer on this earth is when I know the dream will not happen. I will not give up on my dreams until that time. And please, do not give up on your dreams either. Make your bucket list and work on it. Things come in the most awesome way. Just look at my red high heels that were on my bucket list written right above meet Dr. Phil in person and I got those red heels. So, never give up on what you dream about. You never know when it can happen.
“If you would lay down and die for someone or something, then why won’t you live for them?”
Wow, what a powerful statement. All of us have someone or something that we would lay down and die to protect and take care of and yet at the same time, some of us do not live for that person or that passion. We are emotionally absent from their lives. We are willing to lay down and die for others but not willing to fight for ourselves to live to be there for them. I am going to talk about Chronic illness or being disabled mostly but I think you can apply it to any life.
I have fought health problems for so long. When I first started getting sick, my fight was to make it until my kids could take care of themselves. And then after that, I seemed to lose that fight for my health. I would still fight to protect and defend those I love but I was not fighting to survive my health issues and disabilities because I felt like I was not important enough to fight for. And a person chronically ill should be their first defender.
image from connectlearningtoday.com
It takes a purpose in life to keep fighting…a hope…a dream. At the time my boys left home, I felt like I had lost that purpose and so just succumbed to being sick. And it took me a long time to realize that if I was willing to continue defending and fighting and supporting my sons and those I love, I had to live for them too. I had to embrace my life and be accountable for what I do and did. I had to be there physically and emotionally and live life so that they were part of my life.
We can not control many things in life but we can control what we do, how we handle them and how we accept responsibility for what we do and do not do in life. I realized one day that I was worth fighting for too. What a revelation that was to me because I did not think I was worth fighting for. I also realized that if I did not fight for myself , neither would anyone else.
I realized that I have to live for myself and for those that I would fight for and defend and protect. If I am living my life to the fullest possible for me, then I am giving those I love and care about and that love me the best gift possible and that is me living to my fullest potential and my happiest in their lives. I am giving them me present in their lives not just physically but emotionally.
Ask yourself sometime if you give others your best behavior. Am I allowing my life to be less than it could be? Am I hindering myself from actually living life instead of just existing. Have I put a cocoon around me to keep from being hurt and without realizing it, I have shut those I love out?
Living life means being involved in what is around us, interacting and enjoying those around us, accepting what has happened to us in the past and letting go. It means being present in life, not just a shell that floats through doing nothing, giving nothing and more or less, being a shadow. It is easy to retreat when we are chronically ill, disabled, emotionally spent, tired, etc. And we are just a shadow in our personal world and in the world of those we love.
If you are willing to fight and die for someone or something, then be willing to live for them too. Be willing to take life with all the mixed bag of things that come. Yes, there will be bad times and we just have to tolerate them. Living life means letting ourselves feel it all, the good or bad, and being present and active in what is going on.
YES, that is hard sometimes. Sometimes we just want to hide in our rooms, pull the covers over our head and drown out any sound of those around us. But, that is not living life. I have learned that even though most of my time is spent on this hospital bed in pain, that I can still be accountable and present in the lives of those I love. I can try to hide from anything negative or sad and even hide from how sick I am but what happens when we do that is we put a paper shell around us that is easily fractured.
Being present in our loved one’s lives, fighting for ourselves can be done even if we are laying on a bed, laying on the couch, not feeling well, unable to get up and do the things others can, being home bound, etc. It can be done emotionally and allowing others in and fighting to stay here for them. It means fighting to live so that we can still be here for those we love. Yes, we might not can go to all their events. We might not can go out all the time. We might can never go out. But, they can come to us and we can lay on the couch and we can enjoy them when they are here.
So, my question today is…are you willing to fight to live ..for the things or the people who you are willing to fight and even die for? If you would die for your loved ones why would you not be willing to fight to live for them?
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
I love this quote for it says what I believe so well. Too many people go after fame, fortune..success and somewhere along the line, morals and values get lost. We have all seen it in everything from the ministry business where te$evangelists are convicted of fraud to big businesses and financial business like the Ponzi schemes.
So, what happens along the way? Does the attention, the fame, the glory and all the money change people and turn them into something they were not? I think so. I think we are all capable of being swayed by these things with some of us swayed easier than others.Some people live their values and others just talk their values.
I would rather be a person known for my honesty, my values, my morals, my compassion and kindness for others than to be known as the Owner of some big business.. To me, when all that is important is the money and the fame, you have sold your soul to the devil. Following the crowd can lead us into the wrong places. We must begin to use our brains and think about what is going on and to stand up for what is right. Standing up for what is right may mean we stand alone but that is alright. I have been there standing up against an injustice and found myself standing all alone and those that I thought would stand against someone being mistreated were just coughing up their sleeves. But, it is better to stand up for what is right than to be complacent.
I also prefer to be around people who are authentic, moral and have values. I have learned through my many years (yeah yeah, some older than dirt wisdom here) that the people you hang around with are those that reflect your values and morals. What is that old saying “birds of a feather ..flock together?” After a while those values or lack there of will start to rub off on a person.
I can remember running with the wrong crowd and I never felt like I fit in but it was the “IN” crowd so it must be good. Right? I was friends with the leaders and that made me special, right? WRONG. It just made me look like someone whose values were less than I wanted mine to be. They are just people and in fact they were people who did not have the morals I did. And so, I started looking for those that did. And now, I am content and do not feel like I have to compromise my own morals by agreeing with someone who wants to do things that are not right. And being silent with these people is looked at as agreeing. You may not agree but if you do not stand up for what is right, you are just as bad as the ones doing it. Complacency makes us complicit to what is happening.
Yesterday, I watched a video of EMT’s rescuing and saving this dog who had fallen in a frozen pond. I heard some people say “I sure do not want them being my EMT. Look at them taking care of that dog in the ambulance”. I was impressed with these EMT’s. They are men of value….they did what was right against what some may say. They were not doing it for fame and fortune but to help a living being in trouble. I was so impressed that I can say that I would want these EMT’s to be taking care of me. These are the ones I would wish would be there to get me in an emergency. I watched them working over that dog and the man telling him “hang in there buddy. we got you. hang in there” and I could hear them saying that to me in a crisis. These are men with honor, dignity, compassion and most of all VALUES.
video by woodcutin101
Right now, we live in a world where kids are being given the example of doing anything stupid just to get on television and make money. They do not want to go to school, learn a trade or anything. They just want to be on these shows which have the worst values I have ever seen. And so, it was more than nice to see these NY Firefighters showing such values and helping an animal in need. I hope that we see more and more people following their example and doing what is right.
When we just sit back and let things happen be it an animal in trouble, abuse of children, animals, the elderly, someone taking advantage of people, someone stealing, someone endangering others……no matter what it is, then we are just as bad as the ones doing it. Living with honor and morals and values also means being brave and standing up for what is right.
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
~ Albert Einstein
It takes people with values to stand up against the evil in the world. As I look around the world, you can tell there has been a lot of turning a blind eye to things that are wrong. But that does not mean, we can not stand up in our corner of the world.