I know it has been a while since I have posted. To be quite honest, when I sat down at my desk to write I did not know where to begin. I had to keep in mind this is my blog and not my journal, but at the same time being as authentic as I can. There has been so much going on in the world that when I actually sit down and try to understand it all, I want to take all of my family and friends to a secret place to try and protect them. Then I wonder is there a place for any of us to go. The world has its way of making some of us feel like we don’t belong anywhere. School shootings, shootings targeting black people, black people being killed by police, black people being afraid to ask police for help, the justice system over sentencing based on the color of your skin, teachers not making enough money to function on a daily basis, fear of SSI and Medicaid being cut for the elderly, overwhelming student debt for people trying to get jobs that don’t even pay enough for them to live on, looking at videos of racist people saying we don’t belong here and its time to make America white again. I could write an entire page of just issues that are going on today, but I know you get the point. If you were unable to take a breath from trying to read that run on sentence, imagine trying to take a breath while you live it. Trying to understand this and be apart of the solution while trying to live with HS has been a bit overwhelming. My faith was being tested. I was beginning to wonder if anyone cared. What can I do? What can you do? Needless to say I was in a rut.
I am only one person and alone it does not seem like I can do much, but I will do what I can. I know it sounds cliché but I will be the change I want to see. With all of the mean, vile, racist and uncaring people in the world, I will always try to remember there are just as many good people in the world. I realize the further I get away from God the more complex my life tends to be. It makes more sense to give Him the time I spend scrolling through Facebook and watching the news. It doesn’t mean I am trying to keep my head buried so the problems would go away. It means that I need to do things that will strengthen my faith and my soul. I always make sure the people I surround myself with are strong, loving and supportive people. I am going to be strong, loving and supportive to them. If I am defeated and depleted, I am no good to myself or anyone else. I am going to fight for what is right and spread awareness when and where I can. I know I am just one person, but sometimes that’s all it takes….Right?
4 days into 2018 and lessons are literally appearing from the most simple things. When I got up on the first morning of the new year, I was very excited. I found myself thanking God for allowing me to make it yet another year. I was and continue to be excited about my journey I am yet to complete. Any day above ground means He is not done with me and I still have a purpose here on this earth. I know life gets hard sometimes and the feeling of defeat may find its way into our mind, but we have to keep going.
I would like to share some lessons I have already learned this year with the help of perspective (and Gambino):
- Trust- Gambino was crying in his crate at night even though he did not have to go outside. I finally figured out he didn’t want to sleep in the crate. I was so scared to let him stay out all night, but I would never know how he would be outside of the crate unless I trusted him at least once. I put one of his beds at the foot of my bed before I went to bed and when I got up the next morning, there he was curled up in a ball waiting on me to awake. I had to take the first step and trust him. Sometimes we have to step out on faith and trust everything will work out for the better.
- Hidden In Plain Sight- Since Gambino was out of the crate, I knew he had to use the restroom and I needed to rush him out to the grass. I was running around looking for this thin black leash and I could not find it. I looked in its usual spot and it was not there. I asked him where it was and he wouldn’t tell me so I finally had to use the back up leash. As soon as I came back in from walking him, I sat on my couch to warm up. As I pulled my black comforter over my feet, the thin black leash dropped to the floor. There it was hiding in plain sight. It was not lost, it was where I left it. Panic should not be our go to emotion when we think something is lost. It’s more likely than not, hiding in plain sight.
- It Has Always Been In Us- For those of you who know me personally, you know I don’t make new years resolutions. I stopped making those several years ago when I finally realized it was a trap. When the clock strikes 12 and the new year arrives, it is a new day. The day before was once a new day as was the day before that. A clock is just a clock, the real change has to be in your mind. When you make your mind up to begin something, it is only at that time change will take place.
Join me and look for life lessons in the most simple of things. Open your mind and change your prospective towards things. God does not always make a huge production when He teaches us, sometimes He uses the smallest things we tend to overlook.
I read something funny online the other day about having everything going the way you planned. It read “each time I have all of my ducks in a row, one of them waddles off.” I laughed and was testifying to the joke until I read one that accurately described me at the time, “I don’t have any ducks. I don’t have a row. I have squirrels and they are all drunk.” Just when I think I have everything organized and flowing smoothly, life says “hold my beer!”
It can feel like you are sinking in quicksand when problems arise out of nowhere. Unfortunately we can’t plan for everything. We don’t know when our children are going to get sick, when our car is going to break down, when our job is downsizing, when we get sick or even when we are going to have a stressful day. It seems like when you fix one thing, another one arises. About 5 days before Christmas, I ended up having a really bad flare up. It was so bad I looked on Web MD (never do this when you are sick, you will end up feeling like you only have 24 hours to live!) and I had diagnosed myself with cellulitis or shingles. I could not take anymore pain, so I ended up going to the doctor. Turns out I had a bad reaction to some medication I was taking for HS that caused the breakout and flare up. This could not have happened at a more inopportune time because it was only a few days before Christmas and I still needed to work. On top of being sick, I was stressed out about being sick. Finally, I had to come to terms that I had no control over what was going on. I was only able to control my response to it.
As I reflect on the days I was sick, I have been trying to find the point of it all. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the point through the pain. I believe in God and I have faith that whatever I go through, He will make sure it ends up working out for my good. The point in my pain for this flare up is about to turn into something wonderful for me and other HS sufferers. I made flyers about 2 months ago to start a group for individuals with chronic illnesses, even though I had a venue and support lined up, I never got around to giving them to my physician to give to other HS patients as a resource. Now that I have to see my physician for additional follow-up, this is the time to give her the flyers and start working on my HS groups. This flare up has also ignited a fire in me to provide more awareness to HS so other people can understand what it is and how it affects those of us who suffer from it.
The point in your pain can be hard to see sometimes, but it is there. Maybe God sees you are getting too comfortable in a position and makes it uncomfortable so you are forced to do something different. Just maybe the relationship did not work out with that person because he or she was not the right person and you had to free yourself for who you deserve. Maybe when you get sick, it is then you see how strong you are. Everything happens for a reason. We are unable to control the variables, but we can control our response to it.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God”
Life is messy, people are irrational and nothing is perfect. All things considered, I am still here. Turning 41 today has been great and has been a time of reflection. When I turned 40, I had a sudden sense of dread because my “list” was not done. I had a list of “should have dones” I felt were mandatory to have completed before my birthday. Needless to say I didn’t finish it. What was I going to do? I wanted to have these things checked off and done. I felt like this list equated success and since it was incomplete I was somehow unsuccessful. After sitting in the feeling of dread for a while, I finally decided what I was going to do. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I decided to live instead. Don’t misunderstand me, I am an organized person who likes to plan but I no longer wanted to equate success or happiness with things or a list. I gave myself permission to not be so rigid, but instead take life as it comes. By the grace of God, hard work and a great support system, I have overcome many obstacles in life. I have and will continue to help people along the way because I feel like that is the reason we are here. That is success.
I leave you with this short poem I wrote in honor of turning 41 today. I am excited about what the next year has to bring. I know there will be wrong turns, detours, delays and maybe even some stop signs. Life is a journey and I am constantly learning and growing. I will survive it and be a better person for it.
I didn’t get the promotion, but I still have JOBS, I am okay.
I didn’t get the house I thought I wanted at the time, but I have a fabulous place and a roof over my head, I am okay.
I didn’t get the date I thought I was not going to be able to survive without, I am okay.
I have defeated some Goliath’s this year that I never thought I could face, I am okay.
Thank you God for not giving me what I thought I wanted, but what I needed instead. I am more than okay…. I am truly blessed.
As a counselor, I am familiar with The Serenity Prayer. It’s used frequently with individuals working on their issues with addiction. I can remember when I first began to familiarize myself with the prayer, I thought it was so profound. Not only were you asking for help from God, but you were realizing you were not in control of everything.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
I memorized it word for word and used it not only while working with others, but when I felt myself becoming anxious about things beyond my control.
Yesterday I was asked by a colleague if I knew the Serenity Prayer. Of course I happily said “Yes!” I recited the prayer aloud. Then I was asked about the rest of the prayer. ” I sat there like a student called upon in class with a pounding heart that did not know the answer to the question. I reluctantly admitted I said all I knew of the prayer. When she presented the rest of the prayer to me, I was literally speechless. It was so beautiful. There was so much more to the prayer that I have been missing all of this time. It read like a beautiful note written to God asking Him for guidance to make it through this life so that we can meet Him in the next. I discovered the bigger picture on my narrow day to day view of the prayer. I hope when you read this prayer, it makes your heart smile as it did mine. May it inspire you the way it inspired me.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.