Originally posted 3/15/15
After 10 years, my accountant chose this year to disappear. Her replacement had quite an initiation, hearing about Pat’s brain bleed six months ago, his subsequent challenges, and our modified finances. “And yet, here you are, laughing, smiling—I don’t know how you do it,” he said.
I have heard this before, from strangers as well as people I see on a regular basis, who experience the nitty gritty of our lives.
Here’s my secret:
I am not my life circumstances. I am a person. We are people. We are people who have challenges in our lives. Sometimes just unpleasant. Sometimes awful. Sometimes devastating. Sometimes humiliating. Often life-altering.
…and yet we are alive. The snow is melting. Spring will come, despite our circumstances, perhaps without us even being able to look up and take note.
In recent months, we’ve almost lost my husband—twice. His health has changed. Our finances have changed. Quite honestly, everything has changed. My brother lost the love of his life. Friends lost a beloved parent. Others struggle daily with their health or consuming concerns about their children. Last week friends lost their 13 year old son to suicide. So much pain. We are bereft.
…and yet we remain ourselves. Things happen in our lives. Sometimes tragic. But that doesn’t make us tragic people. We modify and accommodate and our core remains intact. To know pain, isolation and despair is to also have a heightened appreciation of their absence. Tragedy teaches us the blessing of a blue sky, a chance to look up, the touch of a friend. We learn to measure our days in moments. A sit in the warm sun. A morning in which absolutely nothing happened.
I smile and laugh because I can. Because I am acutely aware of despair. I have lived it, and every moment that offers an alternative, I will seize upon.
While I have no voice in what is set before me, my humanity lies in my response. I am not my life circumstances. They do not define me. My choices define who I am. I will never be surprised by people choosing joy in life. What surprises me is when people are somehow surprised when they do.