Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lessons: Constantly Humbled


     As we race through our lives we tend to get ahead of ourselves.  We are sometimes too confident, don't take the time to show the respect others deserve or feel jealousy about something  that is really insignificant. 

     It's then an occurrence happens that puts us in our place.  It may be tragedy or a moment that makes us slow down enough to think about how we are truly spending our time or how we treat others.  How long we stay there is up to us.  Life gets busy again and things are going great.  We don't want to think about reality, let's just have fun!  Then at some point we are right back in the spot we left, until another humbling experience afflicts us again.

     If each experience affects us that greatly then why do we need constant reminders?  

     The answer is because we are human.  We allow ourselves to become overwhelmed.  We try to be everything to everyone at the same time.  We get bogged down with every day nuisances and tend to forget the larger picture of who we really are and what it is we are supposed to be accomplishing in our lives. 

     Being reminded myself many times in my life that I am merely a human being and not invincible,  I tend to ask myself that same question each time.   Why can't I just remember to be humble at all times?    We consume ourselves with, "I want, I want, I want", instead of "look what I have", "look what I can give" and a larger one, "Thank You".

     Almost two years ago, a wonderful friend took time out of her schedule to take me on a date.  I believe I had endured eight surgeries by then, so I could walk, but with difficulty.  Divulging that we would be attending a concert had me eager to enjoy the evening.  Feeling quite unappealing by this point in my recovery, I wanted desperately to look cute for just a night.  

     My ankle braces would not fit into my boots, therefore I wrapped them with ace bandages for support.  We were able to park in the handicapped parking, but we must still stand in line and travel to our seats.   Up until this point I literally estimated my steps every time I walked.  Each endeavor my same thoughts would be, "How far is it and will I be able to make it back?  I can only make a few trips a day at that distance.  Is the ground flat or will there be a place to sit if it's too far for me"?

     Just standing in the line waiting for the gates to open was enough to make my ankles bark.   As we passed through to the walkway, I spent most of my time looking at the ground to ensure my steps would make favorable contact with the pavement.   Having balance issues, my next efforts were to assure myself that no one would come into contact with me!   Having fallen many times alone, I did not relish falling with an audience that I did not recognize.

     Making our way to our seats, I immediately pulled my legs from my boots for relief.  The energy from the concert was contagious.  Laughter, screaming, song from every voice was filling the amphitheater.  Those moments where the excitement entangles with your body and you must stand up to express it came to me often that glorious summer twilight.  Again I had to consider that if I stood for any length of time, I would not make it back to the car.  So I sat and clapped and sang and laughed and sat some more.  

     I did have a great time, but there are occasions that I would like to express the only form of sign language that I know about my situation.    I would like to scream, rant and stomp my feet like a child, but that would only inflict more pain, so I ascertain that this is a silly notion. 

     My ankles are on fire by the time we reach our ride home.   They are screaming at me for trying too hard.  I'm on my way to a self made pity party.  A hint of disappointment enters my mind of the pain my body feels each day and that I couldn't just simply walk to and from our seats without difficulty. 
  It was at this particular minute a woman passes in front of our headlights and looked to be having a tremendous amount more difficulty than I.    It also looked to be permanent.  I was finally out of the wheelchair and was not using a walker or cane.   Although I had considerable pain and difficulty, I could now walk on my own.
   My eyelids closed tightly as I sighed and felt the tears wet my eyelashes and I silently whispered, " Thank you Lord for saving my children and I and for giving me the ability and determination to walk and stay walking.   My life can always be worse and I am grateful for what I Can do and the people who surround me."

     Definitely the instant this all transpired could have been mere coincidence, but rather I believe this was my reminder of how far I had come, how fortunate I am and what an outstanding support group I have.  Again I had been humbled and rightfully so.

     I do not believe I confided all of these details to my friend, Melissa Albright, or how indebted I am to her for one of the few fun evenings out I've had the past three years.  I will keep her in my life and give her the respect she deserves for showing exceptional friendship, regardless of her busy schedule.  

     Great lessons I have learned in those stages of chagrin.   I trust that I can achieve great things by living simply and apologetically.  Surely if I couple this with determination and integrity, I will pass over this soaring mountain and come over holding the hands of my supporters, creating my own Tower of Strength.