Everything will change as no area of life is left unscathed; flowers have their day, trees have their shedding of crispy dry leaves and every daylight period turns into dusk.
We will become adept at expecting the new bud to bloom, the new leaf to unfurl and the new dawn to fulfill itself. We know we must expect to look harder, longer and more vigilantly than a healthy individual.
We may have less bloom, slower budding and later dawns but they will still arrive.
Socially, economically, and of course the obvious, physically, life will be stamped with change.
We must acknowledge the presence of pain from disease, pain or disability from an accident, as falling equally upon all mankind. To see one’s self as the lone sufferer is destructive.
If we do not realize our burdens are also carried by others, we become bitter martyrs and life has an angry edge. That state is to be avoided by whatever means possible.
We agree to accept our circumstances with as much dignity as we can muster, with as little self-pity as possible, precisely because we know we are not alone in our suffering.
We retain the right to occasionally slip and feel the need to indulge in self-pity at a pity party but will attempt to make it a brief party and not a vacation.
Whining is allowed but monitored as one looks for clues when one’s friends and relatives run screaming into the streets. We agree to acknowledge they cannot truly understand our experience but will try.
We still retain the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness in spite of living with daily inconvenience, pain and too many alterations to mention.
We fully realize we were not promised a garden of roses, but didn’t plan on a garden of thorns, therefore we shall be armed with a box of Band-aids at all times.
We the residents of what will be called Pain Valley will attempt to live in such a manner which constitutes our happiness and the happiness of those around us, often under difficult and nearly insurmountable odds.
We claim no special considerations except humanitarian understanding as our fellow travelers on this quest for the best possible life under the most difficult of circumstances.
We would appreciate being treated like everyone else and will endeavor to return the favor. Because we live with daily pain does not make us stupid; most of the time our brains are as fully functional as the average healthy person’s. We usually are, however, distracted by our pain, medications or fatigue. In actuality, our depths of understanding and sensitivity are more highly developed, due to our suffering.
We retain the rights to our education, our families and our original intents based on our talents and God-given goals in life. We just seek the indulgence of others while we figure out a new way to attain these goals. It can be very tricky and may require new means, different modes of thinking or even an occasional eccentric method, but we will get therewhile clutching our faith tightly to our breasts.
No, we aren’t nuts, neurotics, malingerers nor crackpots (in most cases.) We just have to invent a new life now and then because nothing is easy, so best to stay out of the way of negativity.
If we are unexpectedly quiet on occasion, it may be because we can’t believe some idiotic remark some outsider just made, can’t believe their expectations or are holding our tongues and hands to keep from injuring insensitive morons.
We retain the right to kick, scream and throw an occasional hissy fit based on our level of pain and our tolerance on a particular day. We know others will not always understand, although it would be helpful.
We acknowledge our zest and lust for life has not changed; only our bodies have morphed.
We will promise our fellow citizens the same considerations we expect; full disclosure when pertinent to a specific event and a sincere attempt to keep our inalienable right to whine at a minimum level.
We declare there are going to be times when it is best to get out of our way, those of you who do not live in Pain Valley. Please keep your opinions to yourselves unless you can assure us, they hold some profound wisdom unbeknown to us. The only exception to this premise is for physicians, other medical personnel and loving spouses and even then we still retain our rights to our own opinions.
We, the residents of Pain Valley, taking all of this to heart and mind, therefore acknowledge the daily challenge which lies before us.
We pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor and pray our differences will not cause a chasm to evolve between us and all that we hold dear.
God help and bless us all as we rely on Him for our daily bread, our moment by momentstrength and immense courage to face each approaching day.