When life goes drastically wrong and you find yourself hurtling uncontrollably on a crash course to disaster, what do you do?
Do you put your hands up in surrender as you become a unwilling passenger on a one way ticket to hell? Do you scream for your mother only to hear your own voice echo back in the vast darkness that you find yourself in?
A third option—and this is what I recommend—is to put on the emergency brake and stop the spiraling chaos your emotions have become.
When I found out I had an incurable illness, my first reaction was despair, fear, anger and a cry of “Why me?”
After having lived through each of these state of beings, I can now reflect on what I have learned. I have transformed into someone I never could have become without such a test of spirit; I love who I now am. I am happy with how I see life.
Here are five unexpected lessons having a health crisis has taught me when I wasn’t looking:
1. Appreciation: I have a new depth of appreciation for everyday that I am able to wake and experience life and all that it has to offer. When you are healthy, you don’t appreciate the ordinary things, like simply being able to go the store, to go to Starbucks for a latte, or to sit in the warmth of the sun under a blue filled sky.
2. Gratitude: I am grateful for all that I have and do not dwell on what I have lost. I am thankful for having loved ones to help me when I need a ride rather than angst about not being able to drive anymore. I am grateful for the eyesight I have and choose not to dwell on the perfect owl-like vision I once had. I can see my son’s beautiful eyes, I can see the faint twinkle of a star on a velvet night sky.
3. Love: I love deeper than I ever thought possible. I cherish the loved ones in my life knowing that to give love, to simply be love, is the greatest gift. I have lost some of the ones I loved the most but I still carry them in my heart. I can no longer touch them but I have absorbed their love into my “self” which I call “Cindy.”
4. Courage: I am comforted in the knowing that whatever life has in store for me, I will face it with a calm, clear determination. I know that I have already gone through some of my darkest moments and I came through them stronger and more certain of who I am.
5. Intimacy: Intimacy with my partner has taken on a whole new experience. Sexual intimacy is not just all about reaching physical orgasmic pleasure, but it is also about connecting with your partner spiritually and emotionally. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable you open the door to true giving and receiving of your “self.”
Take stock of what your hardships have taught you—you might be pleasantly surprised what gems you might unearth.
You are strong. You are precious. Wear your battle scars proudly and look forward with a calm spirit and a secret, knowing smile.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise