What is stress? How can I beat it? Or can I make it work for me? No one in their right mind would argue with me on whether I live a stressful life or not. My life is full of the top reasons for stress out there. Recent divorce – check, recent death in the family – check, doctorate level classes – check, upcoming wedding (my daughter, not me) – check, financial issues – check, and numerous others.
So why am I still standing? Still smiling? Still out there trying to help others? Sometimes I don’t know. I know I get statements frequently such as “I could never do what you do.” Or “I don’t have the time to do that.” Or “You are so much better at that than I am.”…
Too often I do make it look easy. I keep my worries to myself. I say “I’m fine.” I offer to help them. But when I do these things they don’t know my heart. They don’t understand that given the choices, I refuse to go any way but forward. Yes, I could have stayed with my ex. Yes, I could have given up. Yes, I could have quit. Yes I could have decided to not change my life.
I did not do that though. For me, I’ve had this extraordinary hunger to live. I thank God every evening for all the things that I have: my kids, my health, my house… I thank Him that my roof doesn’t leak anymore. I thank Him for giving me shelter from the cold, and from the storms. I thank Him that I have shoes that fit and clothes that keep me warm. I even thanked Him for giving my daughter lice… she laughed when I did that. She didn’t understand why. Why be thankful for lice? Several reasons, now I understand what it’s like to use the chemicals, to clean everything, to pick through every piece of hair on every child’s head. I have an amazing understanding of something I only barely knew about before. I told her how Corrrie Ten Boom, in “The Hiding Place”, thanked God for giving her lice while she was in the concentration camps. Because of her lice and of those others in her sleeping area, they were no longer targeted for being raped and beaten. The guards wanted nothing to do with them for fear of contracting it themselves. In addition, as I am soon to be finishing my doctorate in pharmacy, I’ll be much better at helping others who need it.
I guess “my secret” to loving my life, regardless of the stress that is in it, is that I can ALWAYS find something to be thankful for. But, make no mistake, it is NOT easy. I may have made these last few years look easy but they were not. I had two choices 1- go forward, or 2 – quit in some way. Quitting did not give me power and so I always chose to move forward. Sometimes, actually often, it meant walking through the fire to get to the other side… or remembering “the boulder is the path”. Every moment of the day I have a choice. I can choose to let things bring me down or I can choose to keep on smiling and keep on trucking. Moving forward sometimes brings me to a place where I have to stop and feel my feelings. I have to let myself sit and sob and rest. These moments happen but they let me be authentic with myself. Much of this time has been learning to be with me again, learning to love myself.
I hope that you are in a place where you can also be just you and love who you are,
thanks for reading,