October 27, 2009

A Few Seconds

She isn't a fan of my writing about her. She is private. But the thought of her is taking up most of my waking moments and writing about my thoughts is natural.

She is my hero. She is fiercely independent, funny and lives her life with integrity. For nearly two years she has known she has a progressive cancer. She fights it and keeps moving forward. If the doctors have said it once they have said it a million times...she is doing better than expected. She looks great and she has the attitude and determination that make the difference.

She has faith in God. She loves her family. She is a leader even when she isn't aware. Her grandson thinks she hung the moon. When we visited her last week he commented to her that he is treated "like royalty" when he is there. That is the knack of "grandmother" to make each of us feel like we are special.

Last week when we were at the doctor's office we were making plans for her to begin a new course of action for the cancer. But that all changed in just a few seconds on Sunday. I have thought it in my mind thousands of time since Sunday....how much difference a few seconds can make in a life.

She had a serious car accident on Sunday. She was running late for church. She doesn't like to be late. In just a few seconds the focus shifted from treatment for cancer to a new fight. She is in ICU. She has many broken bones, has undergone surgery, is cut and stitched and sedate. But she is still strong...she is still determined and she has the heart of a champion.

I violate her privacy simply to request prayers, thoughts and support for my hero.

October 26, 2009


I have recently taken a few new risks. I have failed at a few. While I feel the sadness that comes with the loss, I feel empowered by the knowledge that taking risk can enrich my life. I ran into this old quote and it inspired me to keep moving forward despite the outcome.......

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk to failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.


[seen variously attributed with slight variations to William Arthur Ward, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Leo Buscaglia, and anonymous]

Jung Quote

"We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses."

-Carl Gustav Jung

October 18, 2009

Anxiety Vs. Comfort

I have found being busy, mission oriented and full of stress to be a cause to keep the focus off of the emotional. My thoughts, I surmise, is that it is easier to deal with tasks than with the hassle of feeling. The truth? It is tiring. Trying to bottle up emotion by concentrating on real or made up responsibility takes more energy than actually dealing with the “stuff”.

There aren’t any childhood traumas to deal with today. It is just the day-to-day life issues that are building up. There are many uncharted territory matters that I am meeting in my path. While I am eager for challenge I am also feeling discomfort in the practical application of change.

When I know what to expect, I am positive. When I am fearful, I often become negative. There are multiple areas of my life that are presently shifting. None of them are unconstructive but they bring familiar trepidation.

After getting into the groove of graduate school I became at ease and realized my potential. I began to see that I was able to complete the work. When graduate school ended the comfort ended. A lifelong dream was realized but I was secure in graduate school. Now that I am faced with the new challenge of doctoral work I am out of my comfort zone and feeling discontent.

As the relationships in my life change I feel the insecurity of the adjustment at the same time I see the excitement in new opportunities. Again, the issue of security arises.

Related to my career, I have come upon challenges I have not had to this point. Again, they are not something I do not need to tackle; only something I had not previously encountered.

I have also allowed myself to become friends with two or three people. And being friends instead of acquaintances is tricky. Friendship for me brings about a vulnerability I feel anxious about.

While I desire the experiences I have in front of me it is causing the apprehension that the unknown brings. Today I am attempting to focus on the present. I am fully aware that clinging to contentment will not allow me to grow as I desire. Experience is enriching. Each day I will just remind myself what a past friend used to tell me, “put on your big girl panties” and do it.

Fighting anxiety.

October 02, 2009

Acceptance in 2009

This time of the year is often a time of reflection for me. The season is changing, my birthday is fast approaching and the holidays are right around the corner. It feels like a time for change. And it is. Many things are different this year than they were last. I am getting into the groove of the job I began a little more than a year ago. I moved, I finished one degree and began another. I have allowed myself to form more friendships and have changed the path of others.

The biggest thing I believe I am learning to embrace is change. I realize acceptance of the way things are is an important element to my happiness. It was in 1993 when I memorized what was then page 449 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This was the key to serenity, I was told…..“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment”.

And in fact, sixteen years later I find that to be the truth. While I memorized the words of that passage in 1993, I have absorbed it in 2009. The truth is, things are as they are. My mom has cancer. Significant relationships have changed. I am turning 40. I have lost some friends. I have gained some new ones. Days continue to pass and I continue to learn.

Things are not bad or good. Things just are. My attitude toward them is the main thing I can control. Attempts to control the other parts only causes me worry and unnecessary misery. Acceptance isn’t so bad.

Recently, someone challenged me with something they heard Victor Frankl say when they heard him speak. He asked, “when you have lost everything – family, material possessions, belongings – when you are standing naked….what do you have that cannot be taken away? Those are the things I can be grateful for on the days I believe I have nothing else.

There are many things I am grateful for.