There is a program on cable called New Morning and hosted by Timberly Whitfield. It is 60 minutes of inspirational pieces surrounding weekly themes. I do not always get to watch the early morning show, but do receive their daily newsletter, which encapsulates the daily show.
One week?s theme focused on courage. Certainly, a timely subject given the circumstances so many people have had to face with the aftermath of Katrina, Darfur, war in Iraq, and personal issues for many of us including loss.
Bernie Siegel, MD said, “If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.” While nature has the innate ability to pursue renewal without thought, it is not so easy for man initially.
It takes real forthright determination and courage to renew ones spirit after a crushing blow. Humans often must draw on the support and courage of others to help sustain their own spirit to renew, heal, and move forward.
?To heal I might add is different than to cure. We are all mortal and cannot cure every affliction but we can always heal?, writes Dr. Siegel.
As I read this, I recalled the transition into eternity with my late husband in 1981. Segments of friends were convinced that if we did certain things his healing would follow. Moreover, even that belief faltered when I asked them to ?promise? my children that it would happen if we followed the prescribed rituals.
Certainly, they were well intentioned, but what they were looking for was ?cure?. That he would walk out of the hospital without the cancer that had engulfed his esophagus and penetrated his lungs and he would be cancer free.
Instead, the cancer had its way, but the healing time for those of us who loved him began together while he was still alive. His courage influenced and encouraged our own courage to move on into living even after his life transitioned into eternity.
Adversity can influence the courage to move forward and grasp new meaning to life. Often the experience of loss engages the opportunity to make room for something new. It generates greater meaning heretofore not on our radar screens.
A young woman I know recently shared with me her conversations with God. She had a strong desire to get a new job that would clearly reflect her training and career choice. Up to that time, she had been offered positions that benefited from her skills and training, but were not the exact position that reflected the degree she had received. Several times, she applied for positions and missed the cut.
?I really got frustrated and argued with God. I wondered why I went through all the effort to get the degree,? she said. Then she applied for a position she felt her work experience was weak because she had most of her experience in traumatic brain injury. She was aware that her experience may not be be a factor to obtain the position. Even so, she took the chance, called the ad number and found out few calls were received for the position. They asked her to interview. She made the 280 mile trip, having to take a day off from her job.
Much to her surprise, the very skills she had been using in her current job and for which she was being grossly underpaid because she was not hired to work under her professional banner, were exactly the skills they wanted. Within a few days, she received a call for hire.
With a substantial wage increase, a sign-on bonus, moving expenses added, she was off to her new adventure and a job that reflected her training and degree. She shared, ?I went back to God and said ?OK, I see what was happening and I?m not sorry now I had to do work here first for the experience so I could get the job I was seeking.? She added with a smile, ?Sometimes I wish God would let me in on the plan. But then I might say, ?how about this other plan I came up with first???
Her own courage was tested. A single mom with two children can really become discouraged working a job that does not pay adequately, yet still have the tenacity and courage to continue to seek another position. It was not easy to take the risk of rejection repeatedly. Yet, if not for the courage to try, she would have missed the joy of relocating and starting a job truly reflecting her career choice.
In many ways this young woman experienced a healing of her spirit and faith. You see, nine years ago she experienced the death of her first child. The pain was so intense she literally lost her breath at times. Yet, she went to school to pursue a career in healthcare. The cure was not available for her child, but this young woman continues to process her healing with meaning in career and her two small children.
Helen Keller, the blind and deaf woman whose life story has inspired many, truly reflected the ability to heal without receiving a cure. Deaf-mute since a child, her early years were a constant battle for an angry little girl who was frustrated with the darkness and lack of sound in her world.
Yet, the courage of her dedicated teacher Anne Sullivan, brought Helen the connection of communication, which took her physical loss and opened the doors to communicating with the world courage, hope, and inspiration. Her life was healed with developing meaning in her life which she shared through her writing and public presentations. Her courage healed her life, even though it could not cure her affliction.
Dr. Siegel says, ?The future of healing lies with each one of us. Heal your life by giving it meaning and no physical affliction will ever be able to control your life.?
We are all afflicted with something that challenges us. We have only two choices. Either let it keep us mired in despair or let it motivate us to action taking us to higher ground spiritually, emotionally, and to those pragmatic opportunities like a new challenging experience.
Truly, life is an adventure. We either hide from them or engage them. There is no promise that afflictions will always be cured, but I do believe that healing can take place, which sets in motion the new experiences waiting for us.
MCStrom ?2005-revised 16/Oct/06
Maralene Strom is a speaker and author who teaches on topics dealing with grief and recorvery — let her help you discover your life’s meaning as you journey now and into your future. Visit http://AdventuresInLivingsite.com to receive her newsletter.
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