Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm A Survivor


Yesterday, in church, we had a lesson on overcoming trials.  It was entitled, "Songs They Could Not Sing."  Touching.  And a touch dramatic.
I am not one to scoff at trials.  I've been dealt a few.
I mean, we all have, right?
In one way or another we have all faced the burden heartache.
Whether it's in the form of sickness, loss of faith, the death of a child or spouse or friend.  Trials can be financial.  Trials come in the form of emotional death... where you're depressed or anxious... or maybe you're OCD and really wish you weren't.  You may have gone through a horrible divorce or lost the trust of someone you love.
And then there are times when you can't pinpoint what's bugging you- you're just not happy.
We all are faced with trials in some way.

I was sitting there listening to white-haired women go on about trials they had years ago and were still upset and crying over.  Events that took place 50 and 60 years ago!  And from listening to them you'd think it was last week.  They were still carrying the grief with them. 

I was shocked by how many women in this class were crying.  Bawling.  Trying (unsuccessfully) to hold it all in.  One was stricken with an illness.  Another went through a divorce.  Another lost a child "to the world."  One suffered infertility when she was younger but later bore children.  And they all seemed to have the same plea.  "Why do bad things happen to good people?" 

I raised my hand.
"Bad things happen to everybody.  Good people.  And bad people.  No one is singled out."

Uhhh....I wasn't met with applause.
In fact the teacher couldn't even think of anything to say to me and my comment.  (Not even a thank you or a polite nod or an eyebrow raise.)

I felt really uncomfortable.  I didn't want to belittle the heartaches and feelings of these women- but I couldn't believe that one bad thing defined their entire life and they still weren't over it.

And as I sat there I couldn't help but wonder.... What made me a survivor?
(How very Carrie Bradshaw-esque.)


You know what?  Let's walk down Trial Alley with me for a sec.

Trial #1
About 10 doctors told me I couldn't have kids.
Did I quit having sex with my husband?  No.  I did quit using protection... and look where THAT got me.

Trial #2
I had to put off my education so Ken could finish his.
Was that easy?  Might sound that way to you... but it wasn't.  I cried and pouted and built up all this resentment.
But you know what?  I'm registering to start back up in the Fall.  Couple semesters still have my name on them.

Trial #3
I've got a brain tumor.
Can't really tell you what it does to me- besides make my body produce milk... and empty my bank account.

These three aren't much and they don't (as they say) start to scratch the surface... but... when I think of these three phases of my life- I can remember being sad.  I remember crying.  A lot.  Asking Andi for sad songs to listen to.  I remember putting the ear buds in and checking out.  Not talking to people.  Not answering my phone.  Not showering or leaving the house.  I remember being mad. At everyone! Feeling like my life was over.  I remember being jealous that other people had it better.  Feeling like I was given the short end of the stick.

I can't imagine still feeling that way.  Still harboring those feelings.  Feelings of hate and hurt. 

It's not that the trials went away.  I mean, okay, I've got Koley and one on the way- so doctors have kinda lost their shiny good rep with me.  But, when one trial leaves another one always shows up.  Always.  I'm not every going to be trial-less.  It's not possible.

What IS possible is making the choice to GET OVER IT.  Quit sulking.  Stand up for yourself.  Quit waiting for someone else to make you happy.  Start living your own life.  This is your big (and only) shot.  Why waste it being upset.  Whatever it is, Let It Go.  Become a survivor.



Trust me.
It feels good to live.



9 comments:

Poulsen Family said...

I don't know where to begin, so I will leave it with this; well said!

Cinderella, the A-Train and Our Little Caboose said...

I couldn't agree more Patty! I have several people close to me that hold on to the past, and all the bad things that have happened to them. So much so, that they are never satisfied with their present! It breaks my heart, but at the same time I don't have much sympathy for it. In the moment I think it can be good to mourn, cry or be upset...I have done my fair share of that - life sucks sometimes, we don't get our way, or bad things happen. Learn from it, grow and move forward. You can't change it, so whats the point in hanging on to it! I sound heartless, but it's true. Very well said!

DoublClik said...

Were you on my " well put " pinterest board today? :-)

Chris Loves Julia said...

I don't know. I wasn't there, so I can't speak for every woman, but I know when you have been through something--it's good to hold on to it so that you can help others. Even if the helping part only comes through empathy. I don't believe it "letting go" of trials like I believe in letting go of grudges. I believe in making them apart of who we are and where we have been. It makes us who we are.

I do agree with not letting it define all of you, but it will definitely define some of you.

colenic said...

There are definitely trials in everyone's life....there were absolutely times when I have cried, yelled and screamed...but every day I can appreciate the trials and know that they have made me stronger and have defined me in a positive way....every one has a choice...good or bad..it's all in your reaction to it..

Kar said...

I cannot BELIEVE that these people acted like they have never thought about the FACT (because it IS a fact) that bad things happen to good and bad people. How have these women in their 70s and 80s not learned this? I just cannot believe that! I'm glad you said that, Pats. Because it's true. And it's true that another trial will come take an "overcome" trial's place. That's just the business of life. But like you said, the trick is to let it go. And to move forward. P.S., I have a big e-mail I'm working on with your name on it. It's coming. Sometime when I have a moment to myself to finish it. :)

Mike and Madelyn said...

Incredible. I've been thinking about trials alot lately and the overwhelming sense that I get is that not only will everyone have trials but there is only one way to overcome them. Supringly its not to folk lore tale of "asking God with pure faith and it will be given unto you" its realizing our mortality, relying on our comforter to comfort us and being brave for those who will surely face insurmountable challenges in their future. You my are amazingly brave and awesome

Mike and Madelyn said...

Incredible. I've been thinking about trials alot lately and the overwhelming sense that I get is that not only will everyone have trials but there is only one way to overcome them. Supringly its not to folk lore tale of "asking God with pure faith and it will be given unto you" its realizing our mortality, relying on our comforter to comfort us and being brave for those who will surely face insurmountable challenges in their future. You my are amazingly brave and awesome

Julianna said...

Let it go, or be dragged.

Some people hold on to their trials because they think if they do, nothing else can ever happen to them. And then of course NOTHING ever does. Bad, or Good.

Well said. From one survivor to another. :)