Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Symbols

I was recently rereading one of my favorite books, and this scene jumped out at me.  One of the characters is reminding another that just because he has been taught a symbol, a sign means that everything will end in tragedy doesn't mean it will.  That the ending doesn't mean that fruit still doesn't taste sweet, that laughing with friends and holding a loved one cannot be enjoyed.   He slaps the character and says "are you finally awake?"  Just because the story might end in tragedy, doesn't distract from the journey from the sweetness that life has to offer.  

Pain doesn't diminish pleasure, and illness doesn't diminish the times I feel healthy unless I give it that power, that meaning.  

I really needed to hear this message today, the book says it so eloquently and I needed the slap in the face too.  This weekend I had a bit of a setback and because of it my outlook on life became very bleak, and honestly I didn't want to pick myself back up.  I was ready to just stay in my hole, abdandoning hope and letting the doctors, other people's stories control my meanings about what I was capable of.  

When I was first diagnosed, I was very optimistic.  I felt like I had control, I needed to change my entire lifestyle but I would feel better.   It has not been easy to change my life and I just kept going, kept doing things and trusting that I would learn.  I reached out to different methods and took extensive notes, and remained focused on taking care of myself.  Learning what it meant to take care of myself and letting so much fall away.   

This weekend, I found myself giving up.  I ate bread for the first time in months, mostly because I couldn't stomach the idea of any other food.  I found myself wanting to take a painkiller not so much because of the pain (which was substantial) but because I wanted rest.  I couldn't see the sweetness of life, I coulldn't see that my "illness" was giving me the opportunity to truly taste bread, to enjoy fruit, to allow myself to be held by Adam.  I felt weak, and unable to take on this challenge any longer.   

No matter what anyone's story is, it all end the same.  We are human, we end up dying.  The question that came up after hearing that passage in the book is am I willing to find the sweetness of life no matter how I feel the deck is stacked?  Am I willing to continue standing up and to keep going?  Can I no longer look at this illness as a symbol of pain, of tragedy?   Will I continue to look for my own meaning and journey in it?  


There are so many more things that I treasure now, being able to take a breath, being able to laugh with people that love me, listening to Sterling's heartbeat, being held by loved ones, I could go on.  Tomorrow Adam and I need to make a decision about a trip, a trip that I really want to go on, a trip that I don't feel strong enough to go on and that I gave a meaning that if I don't go I am a failure.  That was  my meaning and I can give it any meaning I want, and so whatever decision we make after chatting with doctors will be the best one for me. 

 So I am going to spend some time in my private journaling coming up with all kinds of meanings for my illness, all kinds of symbols, so that in the future when my imagination is slow, when I wonder if it is worth getting back up I will have my own resource, my own hero's journey to tell myself.   To silence that cruel tormentor that wants me to focus on the tragedy, to give me language that truly reflects my happy heart and all the pixie dust that I long to share.  

Question of the day: What are positive symbols in your life?  What simply brings a smile to your face?  I have always loved the Zia on the New Mexico flag, it shows up when I need something to remind me of "home."

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