Recently, some things have happened that have weighed heavy on my heart. For once, this isn’t about any person from my own tribe. Currently, things are STATUS-QUO and for that I am grateful!
However and recently (for a few friends) life has not handed out the proverbial “bowl of cherries”. In fact, it’s been down-right crappy!
One friend recently lost her brother. I can relate. In one of our conversations she said, “I know that things could be so much worse and I need to be thankful for that”. Why do we that? Why do we minimize and try to make less the unbearable-ness of the fact that my friend got a phone call that essentially told her, “you will never see, hear, talk to, fight with, joke with, commiserate with or hug your brother ever, ever…..forever…again”. Is there anything worse than that….in that moment? Nope. There is nothing worse than that. And for some time her reality will be that her brother is gone. Gone. Her heart broken. Questions asked (why?). No answers found (there are none).
Life goes on. It does.
Even when we want it to stop and let us have a few moments, hours, days, weeks, months or maybe even a year to just hurt like hell! Life marches on, seemingly not allowing for the hurt. We go back to work (almost right away). We pretend that strength makes it better. We pretend that by not giving into the weakness, it makes us “tough”. It makes us bigger than death. But that is false thinking.
I am not overly religious. What do I mean by that? I mean that I don’t feel the need to go to church, sit in a pew and tell God I believe in him…so that he knows that I do. I believe in him. Even through the years, with my own trials and tribulations, I have believed in him even though at times, He and I have been at odds. He knows this.
I have to believe in Him because if I don’t, then what does that mean? Where is my own brother then? Just gone? I choose to not believe that. I choose to believe that God snatched my good-ole red-neck brother up that fateful day back in July of ’85 because it was his time. It wasn’t our time to let him go. It never is. But it was his time.
But to this day some 30+ years later, if I see an old 80’s muscle car or I drive by a wheat field in the summer, my heart instantly aches for the days when he was here.
So to my friend, I say, let your heart ache. Miss your brother terribly. Cry, ache and sob through the tears. It’s the way we heal. It’s real. There’s nothing worse. It does get better, time does numb things a bit but it never goes away. Their spot at the table is forever empty.
Another friend is dealing with another issue. Her significant other was recently diagnosed with the “C” word. I hate that word. Generally what follows is a whole lot of confusion, anxiety and uncertainty. This situation is particularly tough as her sig-other doesn’t really want to deal with it. That’s how some people deal.
It’s not how my friend deals though. She’s a “let’s meet this shit head on and figure out how to kick C’s ass!” kind of girl!
As you can imagine, their reality is a tough one currently. Filled with turmoil.
I see her and hug her. Ask her about it. She updates me. We commiserate and chat. Then work beckons us back to reality and away she goes.
Again, life goes on. Again, I know she just wants it to halt and have some time. A few hours, or days to make it all stop while she can have the time she needs to simply deal with what this ALL means for her own future would be a simple request!
She’s a tough chic! She’s been through this damn C-shit before. That’s not the hard part for her. With her previous experience, she could fight the battle on her terms (if one can say that about cancer). She had the control, as much as could be, in designing the battle plans around the fight for her son’s life.
This time, she has to step back and allow her sig-other to decide his own battle plans.
This is hard for her. By allowing him to “not deal” with the “diagnosis and prognosis without treatment” directly challenges her “let’s face it” attitude that defines WHO she is and what has made her a survivor in her own life challenges!
Again, life marches on barely allowing her time to catch her breath.
And the waiting…for him to “decide to want to do something versus allowing fate to make it’s own move in his decisionless absence” is….difficult for her.
But she waits for him. Encourages him. Rages at him. Cries for him. Loves him still. And then smiles her way through this very real hell.
Because, life goes on. Damn it, it just marches on.
“Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amidst joy.” – Felicia Hemans
There are so many more situations.
I witnessed a colleague (and someone I admire) receive a phone call at work. I have NO idea what it involved. I could only hear that (hopefully) it was a “relief call” of sorts. Meaning, maybe a fearful situation proved less so? She hung up and turned around, visibly emotional but strong…..and went about the meeting.
I was sitting next to her and asked a quiet, “are you ok?.
“Yep, I’m ok” was the simple response, with a shaky smile.
I admire this woman more than I could put into words. I hope it was “good” news. Or at least “relieved to hear” news.
But regardless, life marched on the second she hung up the phone, allowing her zero time to absorb whatever the call was about.
Life goes on.
Finally, someone who I love and who for most of my life (minus only the few years until she was born after me) I have both picked on, been irritated by, been inspired by, looked up to and more than anything, loved as an extended existence of myself, was recently challenged by a very tough situation.
I do not want to give details.
I only want to say that when she reads this, she will know that I am talking about her.
It tested her. I am sure it still does.
She turned inward as she dealt with it. It’s the way she deals with it. It’s a family trait.
I would check-in from time to time. She would say, “I’m good”.
And life went on.
She’s beautiful beyond belief. And she loves deeper than anyone I know. She looks for the good. Defends the down-trodden. She gives more than she ever receives but yet she continues to give. She is a care-taker. She is a mother. She is grand-mother. She is a sister. She is a friend. She is a wife. And she does it all beautifully and with her beautiful smile.
She’s got this!
Life does go on.
It’s a beautiful thing I guess.
This ability God gave us to look beyond the chaos. To find the things that ground us. To keep our feet planted firmly on the ground while we look to the heavens at times asking…..why?
I read a book after losing my dad. It’s called when ‘Bad Things Happen to Good People’. It made me not be so angry at God. To not question him as much.
In this book a Ra bi had a son who was born with a rare, incurable illness and for his son’s entire (short) life, all he knew was illness and pain. The Ra bi often lamented that it was “unfair”. After all, he was a “man of God” giving his life to God…so then, “how could God do this to him”?
He finally found his answer.
God does not cause people to die or become ill. He doesn’t “take” anyone. He doesn’t inflict illness, death, disease or hardship on this person or that. God does not pick and choose.
Instead what happens is that life is…..life.
At it’s basic core, life, the making of and living of life is chaotic and at times, when it is organized, it works. But always, it is chaotic. That chaos results in what happens in living. Life is not predetermined. It simply unfolds and people are in the position they are in when the next day continues, or ends for them.
Instead, God gives us the strength to deal with the chaos….that is life.
“We can’t pray that God make our lives free of problems; this won’t happen, and it is probably just as well. We can’t ask Him to make us and those we love immune to diseases, because He can’t do that. We can’t ask Him to weave a magic spell around us so that bad things will only happen to other people, and never to us.
People who pray for miracles usually don’t get miracles, any more than children who pray for bicycles, good grades, or good boyfriends get them as a result of praying. But people who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to remember what they have left instead of they have lost, very often find their prayer answered.”
Harold S. Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Above, I focused on some real life situations that happen daily in our lives. These situations challenge us and as much as we want to halt life for a bit, it keeps moving.
I do believe God intended that. If it didn’t keep moving forward it would, at times, swallow us whole! So give pause where it needs to be given. It is ok to allow the weakness in. To allow the tears. After all, we are human. It won’t be done after one cry, or even two. It will be ever evolving over many years!
However, each time, when you’re done allowing the feelings in, pick your chin up, smile at best of life and know that no matter what, life is worth every second. Even our trials, as they make our tribulations even better.
My very last thought involves something that will give us all a smile.
Meet Ansley Burns , she was on America’s Got Talent. Simon stopped her MID-performance and asked her to “re=do” her audition a cappella. CHRIST Simon! It stumped her for a minute. I cannot imagine her distress….and the resulting uncertainty as she was thrown off “her game”. But this little 12 year-old more than rose to the occasion!
I will let you watch it for yourselves!
Way to kick-ass Ansley!!!
There you have it!
The moral of this story, is living life and taking no prisoners, Ansley-style!