Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Game On

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.

Surgery & Stroke Recovery

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.

Super Bowl Cake Decorating

Comments on: "Game On" (9)

  1. Tara,

    Your encouragement and postive attitude are contagious. They remind me of a short passage by Warren Wiersbe in his book “Why Us”

    “The sufferings that you and I experience will either involve us with others, or isolate us from others. We will either build walls or bridges, depending on the attitude we take.”

    You are the example of a first-class bridge builder that all of us can and should follow. I don’t think you’ll ever find yourself isolated.

    There is one principle of bridge building that I suggest we all remember: It is much easier to start building bridges from one side rather the middle.

    Shalom and blessings

    • This passage is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your kind words. To know all you have been through…. to realize all of those you have inspired, truly make your kindness and support a gift to me. Thank you.

  2. It’s amazing what qualifies as a “traumatic experience” to some folks. And how harsh life must be if one has to suffer through a few extra moments with their children!

    You, Tara, have more than they do—or likely ever will have—you have perspective. I’d rather meet you on the walking path than some Prima donna whose life had been devastated by the rearranging of dishes—you’d be the more interesting and valuable person!

    • Prima donnas what a fun thought to share. I realize sadly though in their eyes, they view their obstacles as overbearing challenges. A pity, but true nonetheless.

      I hope some day we do meet on the walking path. It would be a true joy to find the writer behind the coalescence.wordpress.com blog. I hope your week is filled with happiness and calmness.


  3. “Hard” is variable.

    When I was growing up “hard” was homework. I ignored it for the most part. I got in trouble for that. That was “hard.”

    Love and relationships are “hard.” You get your heart broken. You make it through.

    Last year “hard” was breaking my leg. (ok, breaking your femoral neck is called “breaking your hip” but that makes me sound old. Me femur is my leg — ergo, I broke my leg. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) I broke my leg on my bicycle on a charity ride. I’ve been back on my bike since.

    More recently “hard” was abismal work conditions. (again, this is relative… I’m a computer programmer and it can only get so hard… stress, yes, but hard… ?) I wound up changing jobs with a pay cut. I think it’s worth it.

    Now… I’m training to win the /next/ bicycle race. I’ll be damned if I let a broken leg (hip? grrr…) spoil the fun.

    People are amazingly resilient critters. It’s “hard” to keep us down. 🙂 Good on ya!

    • Oh George, the physical pain you experienced must have been horrible. Yet you are on the bike again. You are inspirational! I hope your spirits have stayed strong and positive. You have been down a long and difficult path. How long has this healing process taken? What part of last year? I hope the broken leg will continue, mentally and physically, not to spoil the fun.


      • This was back in May of last year. Breaking bones is odd — you don’t really feel it for real for a few hours. I finished the race in third place even with my broken leg and rode home — total of maybe seven miles or so. Got home, took a shower to clean out some of the road-rash and took some Advil thinking I just bruised a muscle. Later on I went to the urgent care where they misdiagnosed it (!). The *real* doctor saw me three days later and the operation was scheduled.

        I went to surgery and the put in three titanium screws to hold things together. (From the X-rays they look shockingly like normal wood screws) From the time of the surgery to the time I was limping along without crutches was around four or five weeks. From there it was another two or three months until I was walking normal-ish. I had some good days and a few not-so-good days in the process, but I made it through.

        Even now I’m not 100%, and likely never will be; but it’s good enough to not care really. I’m not letting it hold me back.

  4. So many words, feelings and emotions I read above…Yes all of us have our good and bad times. It is not any different in my family…having a teenager that has to live with special needs since her birth and being ridiculed daily from what one would call pears and friends…? I ask myself why some of us have to focus on the negative so much and yes the positive of a human being that is trying so hard to fit in and be like everyone else….So many of us close our eyes to that.
    Yes they talk about this mother is not controlling the child when the child has a tantrum in the grocery store…I often felt and still do like telling them “start looking in your own home before you talk badly about someone you have no idea what or why this is going on”
    One never knows what today will bring….so I believe it will be great and hope we all have a wonderful peaceful day today and tomorrow ….”Never give up your Hopes and Dreams”
    Hugs to All

    • “Walk a mile in their shoes” is a powerful thought. Yet, I don’t think the reality meant in this statement is fully felt until an individual has been through difficult challenges. Your statement of “looking in your own home before you talk badly about someone else you have no idea what or why this is going on” carries such truth. Everyone should be able to connect with these words. I have never thought of saying this before. This reply would make many people stop and think twice. I appreciate you taking the time to leave this powerful thought. I know it is one they will stick in my mind. Have a wonderful day Jacqueline.


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