Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On Beignets, Braces and Broken Noses

Enough is enough, right? How much can we take? Is it a challenge the Universe tosses out to find the answer to that question? Is asking for Patience the best way to find things thrown in our path that demand us to find it within ourselves? Well, that's the last time I ask for that!

There are times when Enough is actually too much. When you've had as much as you can stand. When the night is too dark. And the mood is too black. When anxiety rushes in.

Ever happen to you?

I'm pretty sure most of us have had our own versions of "the darkest night." And, I'm probably correct when I say you might even have experienced a week or a month or perhaps a year of "the darkest night."

What do you do to get through it? What are your crutches or methods to rise above ... to claw to the surface?

In Finding Nemo, the good-hearted and optimistic regal blue tang Dory reminds the pessimistic and worry-wort Marlin to "Just Keep Swimming." No matter what happens -- be it sharks or jellyfish stings or getting swallowed by a whale, Dory's sweet message comes through ... Just keep swimming.

But come on ... she had short-term memory loss. She forgot if something bad happened anyway. Of course she can stay positive.

In the Christmas classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town, the penguin Topper struggles with finding his footing and is reminded to "Put One Foot in Front of the Other." The penguin is obviously troubled ... it belongs at the South Pole and is lost up at the North Pole. All alone. No family and completely lost. He's got his own issues. But somehow, Topper rises to the challenge and comes to terms with it by surrounding himself with a new family.

Heck, even filmmaker George Lucas concurs with Santa, saying: "You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow right ahead."

Guess he must have had some bad nights before Star Wars skyrocketed his career.

There are many Biblical quotes to help you through Dark Nights. Prayers and Faith are a huge source of comfort for many. Falling to our knees can be the best way to find comfort and strength. I have Bible verses book-marked and sticky-noted on my computer screen to remind me that I'm not alone -- no matter how alone I might feel at any given time.

I have my good days. My good months. My bad days. My bad months. I'm probably just like you. It's the human condition to climb mountains and stumble into valleys. And, as Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana sang once a long time ago:

There's always gonna be another mountain ...
I'm always gonna wanna make it move.
Always gonna be an uphill battle. 
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose.
Ain't about how fast I get there.
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side.
It's the Climb.

Yes, I really like that song. It is about Faith after all.

None of these things make the minutes of The Climb or the Darkest Nights go faster. But embedded in them is Hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that IF you can shake off the fear and anxiety and stress -- which in the grand scheme of the Universe are short term dramas -- you will find yourself on the other side of the little black (or big black) raincloud. 

The other night, my son had an unfortunate meeting with a concrete sidewalk while in line for Beignets at a local Food Truck Rally. He passed out and face-planted. It was a terrifying moment ... and one where the calm of a mother truly set in. I was focused amidst the blood, friendly with Ryan the Fire & Rescue Medic and precise and appreciative with every doctor, intern, resident and Emergency Room employee. 

At 4:30am though, the Darkest Night stirred me and awoke me with a start. Heart racing and anxious. 

Watching him undergo a cardiac work-up yesterday, I was calm. All was well. Clean bill of health. Hours later though the implications bubbled through my mind ... why do they do that? I mean all was well. But anxiety rose to the surface. 

Yeah, I know he'll be fine. A little surgery next week. Just a little anesthesia. A butter knife procedure to push his nose back into place. But still ...

Then, there's the braces. As simple the process and as gregarious and knowledgeable as the doctor, watching my baby girl take this next medical step in stride was wonderful ... but it hit me later as well.

Oh my dramas are what they are. They are relatively small -- in the grand scheme of things. There are so many challenges faced by the people surrounding us. But they are all significant to each of us ... no matter how "small" they might be. And they invariably prompt "stuff," be it sadness, confusion, anxiety, stress, worry, emotion and result in personal struggles. 

My daughter watches a friend move away to California. People face health issues or lay-offs or struggle with building business and paying bills. Still others around us struggle with illnesses, face Cancer with grace and strength or deal with the death of a loved one. There is a lot of Stuff we have to deal with ... every single day. And some days are just harder or darker than others.

But, like George Lucas, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. Like Dory, I will keep swimming. Sometimes though, I will shake. Sometimes I will cry. 

When that happens ... when the Darkest Night kicks in ... I pray. But I genuinely find my greatest strength comes from people. In reaching out to those with whom I'm deeply connected, I find what I need to press forward. My calm comes from time and conversations with my dearest friends and my family. A hug ... a word ... a text ... an email ... a Facebook message or post ... a smile. Better still ... being held by someone who cares for me. Physical connection. A walk holding hands. Touch. My cat snuggling on my lap. My daughter reading beside me and reaching out one moment with gentle fingers to stroke my face and remind me that everything will be okay. 

It's not food or alcohol ... It's people who see me through The Darkest Night.

Guess that's good, cause Jarod and I never did get one of those damn Beignets ...
                                                                                                          -- Jenni