“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym
Ah, yes! What life throws at us. My life has certainly thrown some curve balls for me to catch, play ball with or miss it entirely! Sometimes, as the quote above indicates, the challenges in life are meant to test our courage and how we decide to deal with those challenges; whether well or badly, creates in us change. We have all heard various sayings that indicate if you face the challenge, you become stronger, wiser, more resilient, all the better for it. Then there is the willingness part: if the change is one that either makes or breaks you so to speak, then sometimes the only thing carrying you into the challenge and experience are your personal values.
If you have read my other blogs then you know that I have had my fair share of “challenges”. These include, emotional, physical, spiritually, and psychologically. Being “challenged” with CKD and ultimately ESRD ( chronic kidney disease & end stage renal disease), encompasses all the other challenges. I have had to face a couple near death experiences where I spent time crying and questioning my spirituality and faith in God.
It is times when I am in a difficult situation where I or my husband or friends, etc. have no control over the situation, you realize that your life is really not yours to control. Imagine that, right when you want and need to be in control, you totally lose it and get carried along by the tidal wave you have just encountered. You are tossed up, down, under the water, then pop up, back under, etc in this personal storm of emergent physical needs, emotions and spirituality. They take a toll.
At some point in the “challenge” you come up for air, having won the “challenge” but your definitely more ragged, worn, and have discovered that you have a new normal. Patience, lower expectations, and having many questions about “what’s next?”. Ah, yes, decisions.
Making decisions that will change your life immensely take their toll. There is all the second guessing, reality checking, fighting against the inevitable, coming to terms with the “new you”. Who are you anymore? If you’re unable to do your job that you have loved and been passionate about for over 30 years?? Worse, yet, you can do it, but not as much as your body works against your thoughts, your spirit, your passion. What a battle that is: and this goes on almost every day! How tiring.
There is that song by The Byrds called Turn, Turn, Turn that exemplifies the tides of life and each one of us:
A time to build up, a time to break down.
A time to dance, a time to mourn.
A time to cast away stones & a time to gather stones together.
To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn,
And a time for every purpose under Heaven.
Through all the seasons, turning and rising to the challenges, I have become a different person. I have learned patience, I have learned how to love my fellow humans, I have mastered forgiveness for my own sake, I have become wiser in the business of healthcare that has made me more aware of the questions to ask and where to probe. I have also come to terms with my limitations, well, maybe not totally: that battle still rages on more often then not sadly. The secret to dealing with “challenges”? Keep smiling and don’t let the waves take you under.