When you think about it, all we really have to consider is the foot in front of our face. I know. That does sound anatomically incorrect but I promise, I will explain if you’ll just stick with me. As we all know, a foot is measured as 12 inches. That isn’t very far but it is the tiny bit of life we can moderately control. Everything else, beyond our grasp, is truly not in our control. Rain, earthquakes, and wind are all out of our control. The need for trust has to be displayed by us every day of our lives when we send our children off to school, drive a car or cross a street. Without a certain amount of trust, we would be totally immobile and would never go anywhere or do anything in this life. Even turning on a light switch is an act of faith and trust.
As we pause to think about it just simply put, we’re in the dark and we need to be enlightened. We trust that light switch will lighten our way and when it does, we take it for granted, much like we say a prayer during a difficult time yet never think about it when the prayer is answered. I’m not saying we should go around saying “thank you” to light switches and lamps because you would definitely be locked up for that, but a simple thank you to a loving God would be good. It keeps the line of communication open with someone who truly cares. How much of life we live by faith and don’t even realize we are doing it.
Much closer to “home” we have issues going on in our own bodies that we cannot stop but can merely feel, observe and for which we pursue a solution. The only control we have regarding our health is to check out and educate ourselves as to how our own human body works. We can control our diets, our exercise and our daily activities, all to some extent. We can and do go to the doctors of our choice or who are referred to us. In this current age everything is a specialty. It grows so tiresome and I so often miss the old-fashioned family doctor don’t you? Certainly, I realize as a retired RN how complicated the world of medicine is today and am allowed to grieve for what once was while also appreciating modern advancements. Once again the trust factor enters the picture as we trust our current doctor’s judgment in referring us to some stranger.
It’s very difficult for each of us to know how to gauge a new physician. I think it’s a little easier for those of us who have worked in medicine but even we do not know what and who we are dealing with. The criterion for choosing a new doctor is a bit simpler with the internet as we can read critiques from other patients. One can’t base a lot on those however without knowing the whole story of each patient. But the biggest gauge of all is whether or not any new physician helps and communicates with us. Going to a new doctor takes trust. We each know that feeling of expectation and anxiety with each new visit. I truly hate starting from scratch with a new physician. Are they going to help? Why do I have to fill out fifteen forms? Can anybody help and will I like him? My dear Mom used to choose doctors by whether or not they were sweet to her. He or she could be as stupid as a stick but if they were kind to her, patted her on the hand then she loved them and that was a good doctor in her opinion. Bless her.
I have been at war with my body for thirty years while having to also remain friends with it. Since it’s the only one I have I had to take the friendly position many years ago. I’ve had much to fear in my life, particularly when it comes to my health. Certainly, like many of you I have had hard times financially, family trouble as well as marital problems. We are human beings who are each vulnerable to the rocks in the walk of life. Along the way we stub our toes, step on sharp objects and walk through grit but we still have to get where we are going. Once again, we cannot remain immobile, even when we have health problems.
I know that feeling of being trapped inside one’s own life. I know what it is to be near death and that amazing feeling when you realize you have defeated death. I’ve been through that three times, thus far, in this life and it has a way of making one realize how wonderful life truly is and also acts as a dramatic reminder that heaven isn’t ready for you yet. To me that always acts as a reminder that I still have much to do on this earth and that is the lesson I took from each experience. Those are the experiences that made me who I am but we are also, each of us, shaped by the small daily twists and turns of life which we traverse each day. The interesting fact about each crisis life brings our way is that we usually have been surprised by them. We usually have no control over these times, great or small.
Often, I am confronted by individuals who are ill who have great burdens of worry on their shoulders. Worry and fear are those intangible items which do go bump in the night. Being full of fear is a monster each of us has and do face. Often each of us has been in the position of waiting for a procedure, waiting for a report from the doctor or hospital or some other worry regarding our health. If you have faith in a God of love you should be reassured but that reassurance does not always come easily. Our minds take off in a specific direction and we wonder “what if” and worry about what is coming down the road. Things that go bump in the night can also prowl around during the daylight. Ideally, those of us with faith in God should not worry but it can take some time and much soul searching to create the positive juices it takes to trust during hard times. It seems we can have faith in a lightbulb but not in a loving God. There is always the possibility He will allow us to travel down a painful road and of course, who would want that? In this whole faith department, we are in for a penny, in for a pound. Either we believe in a plan of love and growth for our life or we do not. It is often easier to have faith for someone else but when you are the one with the imagination and cancer is looming in your mind, or some other horrible event such as being an invalid for the rest of your life, then it is more difficult. Remember those of us who embrace Christianity are given a pattern to live by but we aren’t the finished product just yet. I’m not saying you need to be a Christian but I am recommending that you have faith in a higher power outside yourself. Whatever your belief, be consistent in it and embrace its precepts to allow your life and those you love to be enriched.
I think it is only human of us to worry but we don’t have to move in and live there. There are many times I have been caught in a cycle of worry, peddling away with my mind filled with some horrific “what if” when I have had to have a chat with myself. A firm scolding would be more accurate a way to define it. I know each of you understand what I am expressing when you recall tossing and turning, fighting the monster of fear and unable to sleep; things that go bump in the night.
What do I do when I’m overwhelmed by worry and fear? First of all I pray. I give the whole situation over to One I know loves me and tell Him, or rather remind myself, that He is in charge. Then I try to learn as much about the situation as I can. Education and information always bring enlightenment and none of us want to be in the dark. The next step for me is to remember to take the whole situation one step at a time. If I look at the whole picture of a scary situation, it is too overwhelming. Nothing is built that way and a step at a time is a doable project.
This list of what I do to handle worry is longer than I thought as I think back on it. I also try to get myself busy. For one to lie around consumed with fear of the “what if’s” of life leads to nothing that is good. If I can handle movement I do stretching, walk somewhere, even a store or I find something in my home that needs cleaning. Come on, we always have something that needs to be done. Right now I have too much to handle so finding a chore is not a problem. I may talk to a friend, make a call or enjoy a TV show with my husband as company.
For those times when I don’t feel up to much activity, because the body is unwilling, I go online, read a book, or pick up a needlework project. I have a needlepoint pillow I’ve been working on for years. When I first became ill, thirty years ago, I was cranking out counted cross-stitch pieces at an almost alarming rate but now my energy is less and my eyesight is not what it was then. In the early days of being disabled I was a massive mess of frustration and pent up energy. Now I have eased into the role…still don’t like it, but have learned to shake hands with it.
Lastly and perhaps the most important thing I do when I am filled with worry or fear is to look outside myself to someone else. We can each become so consumed with ourselves and our own small world, we quite forget there are millions of others beyond our doorway who also suffer, love, hate and grieve for parts of life lost to them. It also doesn’t hurt to tell someone I love them. That act brings a magic quality to one’s life, don’t you think? Tell someone today that you love them.
Get up, clean up, cheer up, telllsomeone you love them