Today's blog is a little late...but I've had a lot on my mind. As people come and go in our lives, the comings and goings are not always calm and quiet. The "comings" often are, but the "goings" are a different story.
When someone we love hurts us, the pain is deep and it's hard to push out of our minds. In fact, it's pretty much impossible.
When we are faced with wounds of this magnitude, we still have choices. We can succumb to the temptation to hate and to return injury for injury, we can withdraw and prevent any possible engagement between ourselves and the one who hurt us, or....we can cocoon ourselves while we heal and then, when we're ready, venture back into life with the same compassion and humanity that we had before the injury.
We don't have to return hurt for hurt. We CAN heal and then return to our normal selves and even (are you ready for this?) be kind to the person who hurt us.
Life is about choices. We choose how we will respond to others. No one "makes" you cynical, or vengeful, or hateful - those are choices YOU make.
Make your choices carefully. They reflect who you truly are. People might not understand how or why you are being kind to someone who has hurt you terribly when conventional wisdom tells us to "kick them to the curb", but that's OK. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. You have to be able to look yourself in the eyes and say "I did good today." Can you say that if you know you have been vengeful or cold and cynical?
Forgive! It doesn't mean you let the person keep hurting you - but it does mean that you free yourself from the bondage of maintaining your hurt and anger.
Love freely - even to those who hurt you. They are going through their own struggle that you may never know. You don't have to leave yourself vulnerable and unattended in order to live in forgiveness and the freedom that come with it.
Welcome back to The Secret Life of Wonder Woman! Today, I want to tell you another secret. This time, the secret is "tenacity."
Tenacity is that quality that sees you holding on against the odds, holding on when you can feel your grip slipping.
When I think of tenacity, I think of baby birds being born, cracking their way out of their egg. If that baby bird gave up at the first sign of resistance, he would die in his egg, less than millimetres from life and freedom!
Baby birds, baby crocodiles, baby snakes...baby anything that has to force it's way to daylight. For these little guys, tenacity is not simply a "preferred" quality. Not even close! For those guys, their very life depends on their tenacity!!
When I was in the hospital, trying to regain the use of my uncooperative limbs, I needed help with all of my personal care, including taking a shower.
For my first shower after waking up from the coma and finally being steady enough on my feet to make it from my bed to a wheelchair, I was helped by a tall, stern nurse. She didn't seem very happy to have to help me.
She wheeled me into place in the shower stall, turned on the water and then proceeded to hose me down like I was a cow tied out behind a barn. I sputtered and struggled to protect myself from the surge of water but I was not able. I couldn't raise my hands to my face; I couldn't even turn my head. I was helpless as the water sprayed in my eyes, nose and mouth.
I was devastated and utterly humiliated.
When she was finished, she pushed my wheelchair back to my room and dropped me off, without uttering a word.
I pulled myself into my bed and lay there and cried my eyes out. My body didn't work anymore and this was what I now had to endure.
I could have just laid back and kept crying, resigning myself to a life of weakness and self pity.
Instead, I dried my eyes and sat on my bed, determined never to have to have that humiliating experience again.
I reached as far up with my right hand as I could go, sliding my hand up the side of my face until I couldn't make it stretch any further. Then I repeated this step with my left hand.
I struggled back and forth, left side, right side, slowly gaining a fraction of an inch at a time until finally, after a couple of days, my finger tips could cross the top centre of my head!! No, I had not even come close to regaining full mobility, but I could now wash my own hair!
I was still unable to walk so I eased myself into my wheel chair again and made my way back to the shower room. I took a deep breath and turned on the water.
It took me over an hour to painstakingly clean myself and wash my hair, but I did it! I triumphantly wheeled back to my bad and collapsed, completely exhausted, into my bed! I slept the rest of the day but awoke with a smile - I had done it!!
Tenacity. That is what enabled me to finally wash my own hair again.
It's what keeps up moving forward when there are obstacles that would suggest we won't make it.
I coud have given up. I could have accepted that I would spend the rest of my life in weakness and pain. This outcome was unacceptable to me.
I see so many people who just give up! I can't, I won't, it will never work, it makes me feel bad.... So many times, we are somehow convinced that we are not worth the success, or not worth the effort to get there, or we don't deserve the joy that comes from creating newness in our life.
We risk losing so much because we believe that we can't make it.
My friend, I urge you, get up one more time. Reach out and hold on. Grip with both hands. Yes, it's hard but, sooner than you think, the pain gives way to new strength! New joys! Hold on - keep going - don't let go and don't give up.
When we give up, we surrender ourself to more of the same - whatever that was. But giving up means that we were trying to move forward, so keep moving!
Hold my hand if you need to - I will help you hold on. You are worth it to me, you are worth it to the whole universe, to God who made you.
You are beautiful and your song needs to be sung. If you don't believe it, then take it from me, I need to hear your song.
But.......but....it is always your choice to hold on or not; to be tenacious or not. It's always your choice and I will love you anyways.
I want you to know the joy of this celebration of YOUR life. You are worth it.
Hold on - keep going - lean into the wind and press forward.
You'll get there, stronger than you expected to be.
Then, take my hand and let's take a run at the next thing!!
Being courageous is about taking a stand, even if no one else is with you. Courage is difficult because it's so much easier to follow the crowd, to keep, your head down, to allow the status quo to roll along with or without you.
It takes courage to stand up, to become a target, to speak the truth.
Sometimes a courageous act doesn't make a ripple to the rest of the world, sometimes a courageous act puts us at risk to lose everything - and yet, no matter the outcome, courageous acts must be taken in order to change our world.
I have a picture that sits by my door. It says, simply, "Hello Courage". This is my precious reminder everyday to take a stand, whenever necessary.
I'm not perfect and so I don't take that stand every time I feel I should. But I remind myself everyday. And everyday I decide to do better than the day before.
In my personal and professional life, I have had to take a stand recently, due to things I was learning. This stand has not made me popular at all. To those who I used to stand with, I am considered a traitor, or a spy of sorts. To those I now am trying to find my place with, I am considered suspect and am quizzed and prodded, as if I had no idea what I was doing prior to meeting them.
I am exhausted and heartbroken. I wanted courage to feel better than this. I wanted taking a stand to feel more noble.
The truth is, our choices in life rarely leave us feeling as good as we'd hoped they would. But that doesn't mean those choices are wrong. Listen to your gut and keep moving.
Don't plunge ahead in a careless haste. Measure your steps but act decisively and don't let fear cause you to shrink back.
Remember what it took to bring you to this decision and trust that God is leading you forward. Without forward movement, we remain stagnant, and like we talked about before, stagnation is death. Life is found in growth and movement.
Keep moving. Remain open to learning and change.
It may feel safer to cling to the familiar, but it the familiar is leading us over a cliff, it won't feel good for long!
Take courageous! Jump!!!
I can't promise you a smooth transition, but I can promise that if you are truly following That Voice, you will end up exactly where you needed to be....and there is that deep satisfying joy that come with being exactly where we need to be.
Hello Courage! I really need you now!