Thirteen years ago, after dealing with the lawyer, the insurance, the financial institutions and I don’t know what else after my dad's death, my mother continued on, making sure her will, power of attorney, and such were in order. She said she didn’t plan on dying anytime soon, but you never knew. As she said it, she could step off the curb and get hit by a truck.
Mother arrived from Pennsylvania yesterday for a week’s visit. And between anticipating this and reading an interview of a woman who actually was hit by a truck, I’ve been thinking.
We each have our stuff – situations or conditions – that could get in the way of our enjoying a full life. Maybe your body seems to betray you with disease. Maybe you struggle with an eating disorder. For some, death visits loved ones far too often. It could be addiction… mental illness… relationships (or lack thereof)… job struggles… or any one of a zillion other things.
Part of my story is about trying to get healthier as I live with autoimmune disease. I could talk a good while about diet and healing – and sometimes have – but, we all have our issues. We’ve all been hit by that proverbial truck.
What is it for you?
And, how do you respond to it?
One thing I finally realized after years of feeling miserable about parts of my life is that it’s up to me how I respond. There are things I can control and things I can’t. The way I live with what life gives me, that’s what matters. Now, I’m not saying we should be in denial. Or that we should just suck it up and paste a smile on our faces. Neither is good for our well-being in the long run.
But to a great extent, we control how we feel. We’re in charge of how we react, what we do or don’t do. Okay, you knew this. My question – for me as well as you – is, are you living it?
Everybody has their stuff. Best not assume mine is the worst or the best. It almost never will be. Remember Jesus’ idea: Don’t sit at the head of the table. You might get bumped for someone more important. (Note to self: Don’t assume I have the worst story.)
God knows life is not always easy. Even when it's good, we can be sure change will come. What to do? Here’s my list:
- Live! As fully as I can, celebrate what is good. This life is a gift. Once the present moment is gone, we cannot wish it back. Don't give in to fear. Live. Now.
- Laugh! As often as possible. Alone. With others. Look for opportunities to relish the moment.
- Cry! Whenever needed, just try not to stay there.
- Be gentle! With myself and everyone else. Just because they don’t tell me doesn’t mean they’re not suffering, too. Assume they have pain, and treat them with love.