Sunday 25 May 2014

Picnic Thought: I stand forever blessed

When great adversity strikes
My son asked me if I missed work and I replied that I missed the respect.” Jo Harris [Story]
These were the words of a judge who lost her voice to motor neurone disease, first found ways to cope through technology and sadly lost her life to the disease.
I heard her story on BBC Radio 4 and decided to search for information about her because there is something about the stories of people whose lives have been changed so radically by debilitating disease that more than basic adjustments need to made, that resonates with me.
Times of my life
In certain times I remember that my life now has a timeframe, BC and AC, Before Cancer and After Cancer, the man I was before illness and the man I became after the illness came and the radical way it changed my life.
As I have written in many blogs before, as I lost my health, I lost position, status, possession, things and in some ways respect.
Much as I have had a semblance of stoicism and maintained a sense of dignity, I might have even been an object of sympathy towards pity, even to a point of ridicule bordering on reproach, yet like a child rebuked, I could not talk, and like a rascal disciplined, I could not fight back.
Standing misunderstood
Buffeted on many sides by adversity and perversity, I stood, maybe cried, but was never bowed, the spirit in said said, the indignities to the point of gross disrespect from rejections on the flimsiest excuses at interviews to having no place to lay my head for the night, but for the grace of God and the amazing kindness and humanity of many, it shall all pass.
There was a distinction in the prayers my father and my mother prayed when I called to chat to them. She almost swore me to secrecy that the happenings in my life would not be shared with him, but whatever animus they had between themselves I have striven not to allow affect the relationship with my parents.
She prayed for recovery, he prayed for restoration, the prayers are being answered, the speed varying from miraculous to meandering, as a story of life unfolds in the experiences that have defined the existence I have lived, survived and thrived in.
No guilt would hold sway
I lost much, missed much but regretted little as I told my clinical psychologist when she finally accepted my case on being persuaded that I needed someone to chat to because I did not exhibit any of the classic psychological or mental illness issues that I should have presented considering my circumstances, I could not live in regret when there were many blessings to count, little and large.
Maybe fundamentally I refused to condemn myself in the things I allowed whilst the process of handling guilt is still a process, if I cry over how much I have beat up myself, eventually I must get to a point where this vicious circle of the inflicting pain in the hope that some gain would arrive in recognition of my many stupidities has lost its power to assuage my iniquities must stop.
I stand blessed
That is what has won through, despite the external battles that seemed to have the upper hand presaging defeat, internally in my spirit and in my mind, I decided, I would not be overcome or overrun, and I would rise like a phoenix from the ashes of a life and a lifestyle destroyed by illness because that is the core essence of our God-given humanity.
Yes, I missed the respect, sometimes the honour, but I remained respectful, honourable, presentable, optimistic, striving, bettering, working, expecting, trying and most of all living. In the process change has come with renewal, ability, opportunity, recognition, some respect, some acknowledgement and some honour.
I am blessed and with that every other care simply fades into insignificance.

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