I just finished reading a new post by The Tawny titled Beautifully Designed. Tawny helped me start seeing a solution to a problem I have been wrestling with over the past few days and got my creative juices running. When these two things happen, the only thing left for me to do is write a new post on my blog.
First my problem. My daughter got laid off from a job she really loved and this has left her in a lot of pain because no one gets let go without it touching some nerves but it also brought up a lot of pain from a nasty situation that happened a few years ago. As a mother of adult children I know there is nothing I can do to make her pain any less, and this makes me feel really helpless because I want to kiss it and make it all better – like I could when she was little. It happened Monday and all week I have been feeling DARK. To be clear, my daughter losing her job isn’t my problem to solve, but the fact that I feel DARK and all my writing feels DARK is mine.
I have tried working on a couple of posts but have walked away from them because they feel DARK. I have reread some of my previous posts and they sound DARK. Why would anyone want to read my posts on the emotional and psychological impact of having a chronic illness when they are DARK and DEPRESSING?
So then I tried to figure out how to lighten up the posts I have been working on – maybe even make them funny. But having a chronic illness can make life pretty DARK and at this point in the progression of my acceptance I don’t want to sugar coat it. I have seen somewhat scathing reviews of books on coping that say “Just find the bright side.” or “Make lemonade out of lemons.” or “You will just need to deal with this.” There have been times when I have put those types of inspirational saying on my refrigerator but there have been other times when they make me angry. Sometimes they seem to overlook that we are on the dark side of a very huge mountain or the lemon we are holding is too big for us to manage right now, and we would deal with it if we knew how. Right now my daughter doesn’t want to hear any of the glib pieces of advise I could give her – that would make me feel like I was helping her but doesn’t. I’ve had to bite my tongue and it’s getting pretty sore.
Here is my dilemma: I don’t want to insult people by making light of something that is emotionally painful, frightening, and frustrating. But I also am a person who usually thinks life is really funny. In fact I have gotten nasty looks when I’ve made jokes about things other people didn’t find funny at the time. I also can be somewhat irreverent about topics most people are embarrassed to talk about – and my friends usually enjoy this and egg me on, encourage me in my naughtiness. I don’t, however, joke about things like the holocaust or the devastation of having a chronic illness. I think DARK humor can veil a mean spirit.
Half of my own life work has been about helping people figure out the old beliefs about themselves and their world that are getting in their way of living life fully. My current goal is to help people re-write or modify their life story to include the changes that have to be made because of a chronic illness but to not let the chronic illness define their life story. Thank you for reminding me that this is what I did with my life and what I want to help other people do.
She goes on to say, “Our lives unfold like a good novel—but our lives can only be as good as we are aware of our character development and story line. If we don’t know or believe there is a design, will we see one?”
I was drawn into the idea that our life story involves “character development”. Many people have agreed that I am a “character” and I have enjoyed letting my character develop as I have been aging. One of the blessings of getting older is that you no longer worry as much about what other people think. We still have a social conscience but we don’t have as many “shoulds” and “oughts” or “shouldn’ts” and “oughtn’ts”. 🙂 Thank you for helping me remember that I am a character in development and my life goal now is to help other people develop into characters that have integrity and foster healthy relationships.
I can live with the ambiguity of living with the darkness of chronic pain while at the same time laughing at all that is funny in life. Maybe I’ll start a series of posts on what researchers tell us about the characteristics of people who are resilient, fully-functioning, and have secure relationships in adulthood. They are characteristics that help us live in the light while experiencing the dark.
Here is the link to the entire post of Beautifully Designed.
Categories: Travel Logs