Happy New Year! I took a longer than expected hiatus over the holidays, in part because my book manuscript was “resting” while I decorated, baked, entertained, and celebrated. My FaceBook page PLB Life Unraveled has also been dormant since December 1, but look for the Love Challenge beginning February 1. Those of you who participated in November’s Gratitude Challenge know how rewarding a challenge like this can be. I hope all of you will return in February, and I hope to see some new participants as well! If you will, stop by my page and give it a like. While you’re at it, take a minute to follow my blog by pressing the follow button at the bottom of the page. Thank you for joining me during this time of new beginnings!
A very close family member has a chronic illness which landed her in the ER just two days into the new year. When she couldn’t be stabilized, she was admitted to the hospital. She knows the drill; she’s been there before. Everyone believed she would be home recuperating in a few days at most.
Seven days later and she is still a guest at the place she’d least like to be spending a winter vacation. Things haven’t progressed in the usual pattern her condition follows, and further complications have developed. While she is one of the emotionally strongest and most optimistic people I know, her positive outlook has wavered a bit during brief moments of doubt. Still, she laughs.
How does someone living with a serious illness stay hopeful? As a teacher I taught Roald Dahl’s short story “Lamb to the Slaughter.” If you haven’t read it, it is worth reading, and you can find it online. One of the things we discussed in class was when someone is faced with something difficult, he or she often takes refuge in the mundane activities of daily life. Although she may not recognize it, that is what my family member is doing, and it’s giving her the strength she needs to persevere.
She is a stunning woman, so seven days without styling her hair or wearing makeup has been challenging. The other day she told me she has Tammy Wynette hair. I didn’t remember what Tammy Wynette looked like, so I googled an image. For the record, I thought her hair looked cute in the picture.
She is worried about everything she feels must be done around the house that isn’t getting done during her hospital stay. When she is well, she is constantly cleaning and organizing in addition to pursuing church, community, and athletic activities.
She is an avid reader, and two days into her stay she was finished with the books she had brought to the ER with her. A nurse has been kind enough to keep a steady flow of lighthearted reading material coming her way.
Focusing on these everyday pursuits are enabling her to keep going. While she is thinking about her hair and her home, or reading about someone else’s trials in a fictional plot line, she is not thinking about the what ifs. She is finding optimism in a bouffant hairdo and cluttered cabinets. And, optimism is what she needs most, because in reality she will overcome this latest obstacle. Her mind should not tell her she won’t.
The same is true for all of us. Don’t let negative self talk stand in the way of your positive outcome. Of course, there will be moments of fear, uncertainty, sadness, even desperation, but always find a way to embrace your inner Tammy Wynette and move on.