I am not a faithful follower of sports but I do enjoy watching various competitions from time to time and of course, I’m taking in some of the Olympic events. While watching Shaun White Tuesday night, a thought came to me that I believe applies to many of us. Our mind is most of our battle. Here is this amazing athlete who has consistently been at the top of his field. I love watching him not only for his visually effortless execution of difficult moves but also for his personality. He always seems to have a smile on his face and appears to embrace life with passion. He is gracious even in his losses, hugging and congratulating his competition in what must have been a deeply disappointing moment for him. That night I saw a person who can deliver, hands down above the rest, do something quite uncharacteristic. It wasn’t a horrendous performance, just simply not enough to win. And it was not because he no longer has the ability. He proved himself clearly in the qualifying round. It was because something got into his head that got in the way.
Isn’t that how it is for many of us? We know we can keep our anger from destroying those around us. We know we are equipped to do our job well. We know we can speak from an authentic place. We know who we are and what we are ok with. We know others don’t define us. We know we can stay away from our addiction. And yet, moments arise when all the positive things we know go out the window and the negative voices are so loud we do the very thing we have worked so hard not to do.
Sometimes we throw down a gold medal performance, sometimes we get fourth and sometimes we are dead last. Anything less than what we are capable of can be utterly discouraging. We can feel so defeated we want to quit and walk away from all of our hard work. Remember, it is just a moment in a compilation of millions of moments. This one moment does not define you. I will not remember Shaun White placed fourth at the 2014 Olympic Games. I will remember his smiling face, his zeal for life and mostly, how he will live on as one of the greatest snowboarders in history.
Taking life a moment at a time has never been more profound than in this season of my life. I’m away from my husband, my other children, my family and my friends while I have taken on the role of primary caregiver for my daughter who needs a double lung transplant. We are in Durham, NC awaiting her transplant at Duke University. Some days I just move along fluidly in this current. It is effortless to be here but it is intensely strenuous to stay here. I’ll explain because that seems a bit incongruous. When I’m in the current it requires very little work on my part. I’m going the direction of the path I’m on. Moments arise when I’m looking at the river bank or an alternative current and I want to go there. As I struggle to fight my way into the other current or seek safety at the river bank, I get exhausted.
I want to go home. I want to be with my husband hanging out and enjoying his company. I want to be in the kitchen when my son comes home from school. While he’s busy getting himself something to eat, he talks to me. I treasure that time before he disappears into his room to do homework, surf the net and play games. He’ll be graduating in two years. My youngest child will be going to college and our kitchen talks will be gone. I want to meet with my friend, Karen. We get together every other week at Starbucks to connect and challenge one another to grow. I miss hopping in the car and within a few hours being with most of my family. I miss the camaraderie of my Tuesday night Solutions group. We laugh and cry with each other as we learn to live healthier lives while watching and discussing Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s Solutions DVDs. I miss the comfort of my own home and I miss my dog!
I feel a bit like an Israelite wandering in the desert. God is providing for every step of our journey. I’m thankful for that but I also miss a lot! I wasn’t in slavery in Egypt like the Israelites. Colorado really is my home and the place I ultimately belong. It is not where I find myself today. When I think about all the things I don’t have and the place I am not, I begin to sink. When I think about how long I will have to be here, waves of panic crash within me. I can’t breathe. I freak out. Before I lose consciousness and succumb to the drag of the water, I remember one very important detail. I do not have to survive this for a really long time. I don’t have to think about being here for three months, six months, a year. All I have to do is focus on this moment. I just need to get through this breath. That’s it. Ah, relief! I can do this. 🙂 I know I can’t survive being here very long. But I know I can survive being here for this breath. As time goes by all those breaths add up to an hour, a day, a week and so on. That is so much more manageable.
Live your life one breath at a time. It really is the only way we can survive or enjoy the current we find ourselves traveling.
Categories: Depression, Relationships, Self-Help
Tags: cystic fibrosis, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend, Duke Transplant Center, living in the now, lung transplant, one breath at a time, recovery, Solutions