Yesterday with my eye partially covered with a bandage from the mohs surgery done to remove a skin cancer growth next to my eye, I realized that I was gifted with seeing things clearly.
I'm not happy about having to do this surgery over spring break nor are my children happy that we are spending the money intended for our holiday on such unpleasantness but that is how it goes sometimes. Tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon I'll be done with the last of it.
Yet, as unpleasant as it is, life isn't all happy stuff. And when we have struggles, we can learn even from those. Here are some things that came to me yesterday as I went to Cracker Barrel with Mom, my face covered in gauze and iodine.
- There are kind people in the world. The waitress was so kind to me. The lady at the doctor's who cut the gauze meticulously so I could see out of my right eye today was kind. The adept Mohs surgeon was kind, looking me in the eye and asking me if I had questions (and we even talked about my blog – why does that always come up – I guess it is important to me.)
- Rejoice in the little things. I got to read a book yesterday while waiting and I got to spend time with my Mama. She's so busy and everyone wants her attention that time alone with her is precious.
- Put one foot in front of the other. When dealing with unpleasantness it is important not to get too far ahead of yourself. I had to deal with yesterday before today. And today before tomorrow.
- Play your game forward. You can't live life in the rear view mirror. I could be angry at myself for the year of sunbeds I did for the sake of beauty pageants. I could be bitter that others are out having fun while I'm dealing with this. Come to think of it, my kids could be bitter too. The great movie 7 Days in Utopia has a scene where Robert Duvall tells the golfer to “Play his game forward” – it means you look ahead of you and not behind you to determine what your next shot will be.
- Mercy always trumps legalism. Kip brought home the Les Miserables movie last night. It is such a reminder to me of how mercy and love are always stronger than legalism and unforgiveness. Some will look down upon me and say “she's getting what she deserves because she got in the sunbed when she was 18, it serves her right.” Yet, I have doctors who are giving me mercy, trying to help me look good again. I have a family who is merciful and my Dad picked up pizza for us. I had texted my kids that I needed some Tylenol hoping one of them would get it for me and I had 2 extra large bottles on the table that they had bought with their own money – each of them got it for me. Those 2 bottles of Tylenol are precious reminders that although I may struggle with my teens, underneath it all, they love me. Without this, I might have only seen the dirty laundry and dirty dishes.
- There can be purpose in the pain. I was called back for a second time to have the doctor go back in and remove more. I have to admit, I just thought I was going to die, but while I was back, my Mom was helping a lady in the lobby who was struggling to get to the ladies room. She was there because I was back there. I believe the good Lord can use our struggles and pain to minister and be there for others. People need kindness wherever we are. If we're only self centered and see our own selves, we miss out on the chance to be a blessing.
- Crying is not always the right thing to do. I admit, I'm a pretty private person. I've teared up on stage before talking about my students but I try not to. My Mom tells a story of when she and Dad were in Russia and Mom almost died in a Russian hospital due to an allergic reaction to some medicine she'd taken. As she sat there in the hallway of a dirty hospital, watching doctors reuse needles and with roaches crawling on the walls and beds, she realized how bad her situation was. Her throat was swollen and she could barely breathe. She started feeling the tears coming but then, she realized, “I can either cry and die or I can make it through this and live.” She toughed it out and lived to come home to us girls. As I teared up yesterday, the worst pain of the day started shooting down my nose and through my eye. I quickly realized as upsetting as it was, that the best thing for me to do is to go through this, without the tears. Those would have been tears of self pity anyway as the biggest pain was gone. It is OK to cry when you lose someone but self-pity tears often make it worse.
- There is always someone having a harder time. Dad had lunch yesterday with a man whose 28 year old daughter is hoping to get her kidney function back. She's been in the hospital 2 weeks and it is a tough situation. While it doesn't minimize my own pain, it does offer perspective that there are worse things that could happen.
- There are always people having a great time out there. Facebook is filled with photos of people in fantastic places. I was talking on Facebook with people about a recent study that shows that most people have a temporary dip in self image after getting on Facebook. This person quoted a friend (I can't find the original comment) who said, “The problem with Facebook is that we are comparing the best exterior of others to our worst interior thoughts.” Right now, I'm taking a Facebook break as much as I can. It is just too upsetting. Why do something that will make me more upset. Sure, it is spring break and most people are off, that is what people DO on spring break.
- Choose your attitude. I don't sit in manure. So, why would I sit in unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger – three components of a stinky attitude? I'd rather have love, forgiveness, faith and renew my mind daily so that I can accomplish what God intended me to do with my life.
- Remember. Last summer was awesome. More awesome than usual. I'll look back on the ziplining and rafting memories. Some women my age can't manage a canoe or ducky or zipline, so I'm happy I got to do that.
Even now, this blog post is part of my hope that God will use this situation for good. Some of you out there are having a pity party about something. Something didn't go as planned. You're not getting to do what you want to do. Someone you love is having a hard time. Why? Why? Why?
Just yesterday in my journal, I listed 2 whole pages of worries that I'm praying about. Just yesterday I had 2 shots in the face and tomorrow I have more surgery. I don't say this to gross you out but to say, life isn't always pleasant and none of us are Pollyanna. It isn't easy living life but life is much easier when we learn how to help others and be kind amidst the struggles.
The last time I checked the death ratio is 1:1. Everyone will die at least once. And, for me, I truly believe that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” We're not put on this planet to serve ourselves but to serve and help others. Even in our pain, we can help others and we should, but it isn't always that easy to do.
I guess this is why I'm happiest for Easter. This didn't start out to be an Easter-themed post, and yet, if you're looking for a reason that someone could be happy amidst all of this mess – there it is. I serve a risen Savior and He's alive in me.
I welcome all faiths and religions here on this blog and in education and work everyday to include and encourage others. Those of you who know me, however, know that truth and honesty is important. It is what it is. I'll just speak the truth in love as honestly as I know how, while respecting the fact that you can choose what to believe yourself.
I may take a break for a few days and not have my typical 4-5 posts this week but I'll be back working hard to inspire all teachers with technology, inspiration, and encouragement to be excellent next week. Meanwhile, Mom just texted me she's leaving the house and I've got to get ready for Day 2.
Remember your noble calling, teacher. And know that there are ways you can teach through the struggles of life – people are always watching so live your life in a way worth living. Have a great day and if you're on spring break, enjoy it, and I will too.
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