While I was walking, I came up alongside two women. I could not help but overhear their conversation. One was talking about how horrible it was when she was visiting someone’s home and they reorganized the dishes after she had worked hard to put them away. The homeowner, having had her dishes put away, said thank you but then went right back to moving around the plates! Terrible! A tragedy! How RUDE! Her voice was getting louder and higher as she related this horrific tale. Her friend could not help but give in and agree how rude this was. She even offered her friend might not want to go over there again for a while.
I often have trouble relating to moms in the area where we now live. Their frustrating issues in life, while horrible for them, seem so minor in my eyes. When I had my daughters in volleyball, the usual Thursday practice conversation revolved around how irritating it was that grandparents, sisters or other family members would not be willing to watch kids for the weekend when these moms wanted to get out of the house. Once I cautiously threw in they were lucky to have family close. My family all lives 1,800 miles away. They scrunched up their noses and said how terrible it was we had no one around to “take our kids out of our hair”. I laughed. It was not that long ago I did not have hair. It had been shaved off for brain surgery. I bit my tongue as I did not think there would be anything gained adding this to their conversation.
I am not attempting to minimize the problems other people face, but I do wish they would look at the big picture of life. Someone else always has it worse. I know there are plenty of people who have had greater struggles in life than those I have endured. My stroke altered my life, yet there was never a chance it would end it. So, what was it like to have a stroke in my 20’s? It was not fun. It is not an event I would recommend, but I did learn my true strength at that time. Malcolm Forbes once said, “Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.” Thankfully I did not have to know defeat. Life tried, but I won. But in winning, I had a label placed on me by some – “Disabled”. I cringe when I hear that word. I am too busy being “able” to ever pay attention to the first part of this label.
The lady who had the clean dishes reorganized was very agitated that her hard work was redone. I was agitated when my toe caught and I fell down yet again on that same walk. I did not feel anger or frustration though. After all, eight years ago, I could not go for a walk longer than down a hospital hall. Maybe the volleyball moms were truly angry when family members would not drop what they were doing to watch their kids. I am thankful I can see my kids play at a park and hear them laughing on a lazy Friday afternoon. I try to always remember there are people out there who cannot walk nor will ever be able to. I know of people who do not have families to safely go home to. Everyone can find a silver lining. In life, each of us will find individuals better or worse off than we are in that moment. Life is not easy. Life is not really supposed to be. Accept the challenges that demonstrate your strengths.
Super Bowl XLVI was this past weekend. These players are at the top of their game. But, don’t forget even all these strong, tough men started off slowly and were certainly filled with frustration and disappointment at one time or another in their careers and lives. We have all been filled with challenges and overwhelming disappointments at one point. Some of you are currently facing overbearing challenges. Just remember though: Maybe someone has hurt your feelings. Maybe your children are not allowing the calmness you desire. Yet, you woke up today. You took a breath; you are breathing. You are seeing the light of a new day. Challenges will test us, but we have the strength to rise above them. Be stronger, be greater, and be more hopeful than yesterday. Put your feet on the floor. Grin as you tell the world, “Game on”. Then go conquer the challenges that await.