Monday, October 25, 2010

You Can't Handle The Truth

tpa0694l2Everyone has trying times. We all experience loss in one form or another. These events can happen to us one at a time like a slow leak or they can come at us all at once like a roof caving in. The great thing about being human is that we can all empathize with each other during strife and triumph. Not everyone handles success well. I have met a few people that actually sabotage their own success because they do not feel they deserve it. Fortunately I am not one of those people, I deserve every bit of it! Not everyone handles stress well. On the other hand, some of us shine brighter than ever when they are in a pressure cooker.

Problems are not really the problem. Coping is the problem. Not everyone is equipped with the necessary tools to get through the times that challenge them. I used to be the type of person that, under stress, would withdrawal from others. My theory was “why do I want to bother others with this”, this is my deal. What I have learned over the last few years is that these are the times I need to reach out even more than usual. Of course I am selective to whom I reach out, not everyone can handle the truth about other’s vulnerabilities.

After one particular year of growth, I had many friends say to me they could not imagine how I got through it. A divorce, the death of my mom, job loss, and a whole lot of heartache can test the strongest among us. Although I understood what they meant, I think what they should have said was “How did you get through it”.

For those that cannot tell the difference between the statement and the question, let me elaborate. The statement focuses on the situation. The question focuses on the person. I admit I am guilty of this too. I want to show my compassion but I do not want to bring up a sore subject. Are we all so self absorbed we do not realize there is a difference? Is it that no one wants to hear it? Are we afraid of what we will hear? Do we think what we hear will make us look at ourselves in a way we may not like?

No man is an island. If we would stop and listen to others, we might learn something about them, and maybe ourselves.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Let's Be Honest Here

2598373144_6a4f6c5dfeI registered for our local Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk months ago. Maybe it was weeks. Either way, I had plenty of time to raise awareness and funds. I also had time to talk to my boys about Breast Cancer, and why we walk. G-Man asked big boy questions like “what is fund raising” and “what is charity”. He also asked about Cancer and how the doctors help those that are sick. The Babe asked the exact question I expected from him; “what are breasts”. You can imagine how delighted both boys were to hear me say “boobs”. They ran around saying “breasts, breasts, breasts”. Typical boys.

The three of us talked about the walk for days before it was scheduled. The morning of, the boys gathered their toys and snacks for their “walk” in the wagon while we all donned our pink. What I did not have time for during my preparation, was to reflect. I participate in stuff like this all the time so I did not think this time was any different. However, I never stopped to think about how it would feel when the volunteer handed me a sticker that said, “I walk for ______________”, let alone when I actually filled it in. I did not think about the questions the boys would ask about Mom on the drive to the walk. I was not prepared for my oldest son to look at me as I am filling out papers and stickers and say to me “I walk for you Mommy”. Can he possibly understand what he is saying?

The walk was only a 5k so they boys took turns in the wagon while the adults took turns pulling it. When I was not making sure the boys were warm enough, or not too hot, I thought. I thought about my mom, and her mom. I thought about all of the people at the event that donated time and money. I thought about how much I wished I could have spent that morning with my mom.

These events tend to bring out the community in some that otherwise know nothing of the concept. I acknowledge many participate in these events because they are good hearted. Some do it for recognition. Everyone has his or her own agenda. With that in mind, many people I spoke with that day; whether friends, volunteers, or otherwise, thanked me for walking. It was fine the first few times I heard it but after a while, it bothered me. I did not do it for them. I did not do it for recognition. Frankly, I did not do it for my mom. There are moments I feel my mom more closely than other days. That day was one of them. I will do whatever I can to feel her presence.

So truth be told, I walked for myself.