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Turbulent squalls of water flaring up from the sea. Winds blasting to and fro. Hurricane Matthew is here. But what allows him to come onto land on one stretch of shore and not another? What allows him to ride across a land taking everything in his path hording and spitting out items that he has just found. Things –not his things but ours. Is he teaching us lessons? Is he killing the innocent? Is he maiming and crippling the people?
The last couple of weeks have been whammies! They’ve been challenging and whammies! I’ve gone through so many emotions – from a death of a high schoolmate to enjoying a survivor luncheon and finally to a storm named Matthew tearing up our worlds.
But in “My Midlife” each has a different response; I deal with stress differently now in my forties. Losing a classmate has reminded me of the need to let go. All of this, the mundane and unimportant, are temporary. We need to cherish the sweet times. We need to tell the people we love what they mean to us. We need to break our walls down and let people in. I know that I know all of these things, but it takes death to recount my blessings and see what I really want out of this life. And it encourages me to contact those that I want to share it with me.
Surviving – where do I begin? I’m not sure if it’s in my genes. But all I know is defeat is not in my vocabulary. I speak from a broken heart, physically and emotionally. I’ve been through more battles than one person deserves. But I think all of those jagged cuts have been for a reason to learn from, grow stronger, and become a survivor. I knew I was special at an early age having a heart problem like no other kid I knew. I knew the solution would be a small battery packed box that would eventually go into my chest. Grandpa had one. They called it a pacemaker. Doctors and my parents chose to wait until my body needed it. Now at 41, I’ve had three. On top of that, I’ve had A-Fib, A-Flutter, a Catheter Ablation and Congestive Heart Failure. Many lessons learned here. What do I do with this knowledge and experience? I brighten the day of patients, reassuring that they are not alone. I’ve been there and done that and they can to. Everyone has a story, especially from their heart.
And last week, not only did I take part in a walk. But they spoiled us, both cardiac and stroke survivors, with a wonderful brunch before our race. What a blessing it was to spend time with new friends and volunteers sharing as survivors.
But what do all of these life instances have in common? Timing and what hints life chooses to provide along the way. Life is in steps. And there’s no rush to the finish line. It’s what’s in these steps that life offers real treasured knowledge and experience. We grow in these hard times, valleys of life if you will. In these hard times, I’ve reached up and grabbed hands of family and friends. My relationship with Christ has strengthened.
Life chooses timing, not us. It is the paths we choose to take. But without those paths, great opportunities don’t arise. It’s in these steps that we meet the people that we need to meet. It’s in these steps that we learn life’s lessons. We then have the opportunity to swing back around, in an old instance, and better understand them with another point of view.
But do you ever wonder why things happen the way they do? Who controls the time and when things choose to happen? I definitely see God as having control over our lives. The choices offered, but ultimately, with freedom of choice, we choose. However, I also see our life’s paths coming into play with our choices as well.
But one of life’s lessons most learned, I recently shared with a friend: remember that there are people worse off. And it’s not the battles we try to conquer. It’s the positive attitude we use to conquer them.