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Chatterbox: Hanging tough


Today, I was sidetracked from my column.

I wanted to be working but I was allowing little things to consume my focus. The annoyances that usually go unnoticed became cavernous, but I guess we all jump the rails occasionally.

During one segue – a phone call – a family member and I were commiserating. In an effort to encourage her, despite myself, I shared the philosophies of two of my dear friends. These two women are warriors in terms of getting through life’s struggles, albeit by necessity, not choice. Each of them has fought several of life’s major battles, and neither one is done yet.

While discussing them, my relative and I realized our own problems were minuscule. We can all dwell on minutiae, but it’s usually just a stumbling block, so why should we?

I have a small, personal collection of great quotes. Some are by famous people and some are worthwhile tidbits from family, friends, and … OK … me. One of those quotes was from one of these warrior women. It’s not hers; it’s by Ralph Marston, but she is one of the people who have the right to say it with validity, and they’ve earned that right the hard way. I’ve written about her before. She’s fought several tremendous battles in her life and she told me, “Happiness is a choice.” If this woman can run with that one, all of us can … and should.

My second revelation during my conversation this morning was inspired by another friend. We spent an afternoon together, recently, at a beautiful quilt show. Her sincere inspiration will rescue anyone because she, also, has faced immense setbacks and protracted challenges through no fault of her own. She has fought great loss and the effects of it, and she is now staring down a new menace, so it isn’t over yet. Still, she lifts up others and dedicates her time, including pep talks, to anyone who needs her. She’s another true warrior.

People who carry the heaviest weight are usually those who share with the greatest of compassion for others. It’s ironic what powerful medicine we receive for ourselves while rendering it to others. I realized this most clearly while I was on the phone this morning, passing forward the wisdom of my two dear friends.

These are two of my warrior women, but we all have people like them in our lives. Men, women, family, friends, even children; it might be someone like the lady I chatted with in the craft shop just for a few minutes. They are those who share their hard-won inspiration to help us recognize our blessings, those who show us the light when we only want to see the darkness. They inspire stamina in us with their stamina, even when we want to wallow in self-pity or quit trying everything, completely.

I recently saw a video of another warrior, a young mother so overwhelmed one morning that she pulled her car over to bare her soul, into her phone. She has a son who is severely autistic. His behavior is grossly unreliable always, and he will never be independent. She faces her sometimes unbearable fears about the quality of life he will have, but she remains steadfast and strong for him. Via social media, through tears, she wanted to tell others who might be going through the same plight, that they aren’t alone. She wanted to share that it’s OK to cry, to feel overwhelmed, to not have all the answers, and to get down – as long as you get up again.

There’s another warrior woman I’ve written about before, though I didn’t know her personally. When medical bills had taken everything else she and her husband had, she chose to end her treatments and die rather than put her young family in the street by selling their home. She faced her destiny; they found the courage to carry on.

All my children inspire me too (most people’s children do), as they each face life’s challenges with gusto. My older son writes wonderful songs, and in one he says, “Grasp the fire and fight, because you are what you do.” It’s true, and I share it here as I find it very inspirational.

So, on this day when a tempest in a teacup drove me to distraction, I offer this old adage: Everything in its own good time. Perhaps, more to today’s point: everything good in its own time.

Stay strong – warrior strong.

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