Good morning, everyone ~
We’ve all heard the saying: “The only constant is change.” At this point, we’ve lived out the truth behind those five words. More, we have experienced the dichotomy of them — that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today’s news-feed is so similar to yesterday’s (and how many days before that?). The names, places, technology, extent of change, etc. — yes, those things do change. Sometimes more rapidly than we can keep pace with. Yet, humans continue to do unspeakable things to one another, the Earth labors beneath human interventions … . I hurt. You hurt. We all hurt. Sometimes similar; always, unique unto our own self.
How we cope with our challenges is equally unique and somewhat same. Distraction, meditation, Yoga stretches/breathing, music — and in most cases, we need a variety of these “tools” for management on hand. Some days, we need all the “tools”. Other days, we may experience moments of such “feel good” that we’re tempted to put all those “tools” in the storage shed. Then, something changes. Maybe just a small, subtle change and we’re digging again into our arsenal of “tools” in search of relief.
Personally, I’m feeling very tired/frustrated by the roller-coaster effect of chronic pain and its accompanying fatigue. One “good day” seems to be followed by 2-3 days of “down time” (hours of rest, the need for uninterrupted sleep, craving relief). Physical therapy days take a lot of energy out of me, despite their beneficial effects. Weather conditions will always be a fluctuating challenge. My mind remembers how this body could work once-upon-a-time, and so my mind mourns an intangible loss.
Perhaps one of the greater challenges is the fact that others remember how I once could work long hours for days on end. Pain is an invisible presence in my life and remains a mystery to others. If I’m smiling, others assume I’m okay. They do not see the relentless back pain. If I’m able to walk one day but not the next, the mystery deepens. There is an endless stream of “why?” queries that no amount of words can satisfy others’ curiosity. I myself cannot explain to myself why all seems well one moment and not the next. What happened? Something; nothing. The pain was not, and now it is.
What does help? Within the privacy of my own internal being, many things help; nothing cures, and nothing prevents. It helps my mind-spirit partnership when others ask: “How are you doing today?” — and my answer does not depress, irritate, or cause a fear-filled reaction. Just listen. Really listen. My pain/its cause may be invisible, but I myself am not.
What else helps? Listening, really listening to others when I’ve asked them: “How are you doing today?” I genuinely want to know. I see you. I see that you’re suffering and even though I cannot cure that pain nor prevent its recurrence, I do care. I do see you, if only in my mind’s eye. I do want to you to know that I care/I see/I hear.
My parents survived wars, The Great Depression, a lifetime of poverty’s many-faceted challenges. Their types/levels of invisible pain must have been measureless. Dad was a quiet man, an almost-continually-smiling man. Mom was a fussy woman, a mostly-sad-n-mad woman. They had lost parents, siblings, loved ones. Yet, they listened to one another. Neither could cure the other’s pain. Neither could prevent future pain-filled challenges from happening. Just being there for each other seemed a “tool” of great value.
My friends, we are here for each other and that’s of great value! No cure. No prevention. But, certainly of great value.
Today’s news will likely be so similar to yesterday’s. Today’s personal challenges will likely be similar to the roller-coaster that they’ve been before and will be again. Pain and “tools” for management remain a part of our lives that we did not plan to have; yet, here we are … propping each other up in simple but valued ways.
I “see” you, even though we are not in one another’s view. I “hear” you, even though we’re not in regular contact. Thanks for letting me prop you up; and, measureless thanks for propping me up! We cannot change the world, nor keep pace with modern technology. We cannot love enough to create world peace, nor have enough “tools” to cure anything that ails Earth’s place in the heavens. We can: do whatever we can, from where we’re at, with whatever “tools” are at our disposal — and know that that’s “good enough”.
As April comes to a close and May begins her season, let’s hold one another close in thought/prayers/hope for a collective/personal future that is “good enough” despite our pain/challenges. No one, my mother once said to me, gets through Life scott-free of pain/challenges. All of us, my fathers once said to me, are put here on Earth to help each other.
So it is, and so it ever shall be. Let’s stay “good enough” together!
Gentle hugs/much love,