Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Me? Why Not?

Over the past few weeks, I've had so many wonderful people come up to me and, referring to my illness and then to my shoulder injury (a fall at work; scared the heck out of me, but MRI said bursitis), and say "Oh, why does this have to happen to you?"

My usual answer to them is, "Why not me? It's my turn."
I have to say that lately, it would be pretty easy to fall into the "Why Me" pity party. And I've had my moments. You can ask Rick about that! It's been a terrible round of "stuff" lately, and not much of it is fun.

But I do have to add that apart from slamming myself into a door and a weird wisdom tooth that may need to be pulled in the immediate future, I've been feeling pretty good. They are retesting to be certain they don't have false positives and this gives me a reprieve before I begin any kind of treatment.

Perhaps the better question is "Why not me?" What makes any one of us exempt from challenges? Is "being nice" or "being thoughtful" or "being a hard worker" a pass from challenge?
I think not. 
And I have the friends and family members to prove it.

And while it would be nice -- well, not nice but at least normal -- to think that those who are brutal, violent, callous, arrogant or downright mean should get a comeuppance, the fact is that illness, loss and more than one's share of "bad luck" coming all at once don't pick and choose based on "good" or "evil," "friendly" or "snobby," "humble" or "arrogant."

And guess what -- you know that because chances are, it has happened to you. You have lived lives that are creative, loving, kind and compassionate.
Yet I feel pretty safe saying that every single Gypsy reader has faced one or more tremendous losses or challenges: deaths or estrangement of spouses, children, parents, loss of your job, or your home or your health.

It's not just me or just you. It really is all of us. Maybe not all at the same time. But we all get our share.

It's my turn.

And while it is my turn, it is also someone else's turn. Maybe the people who were damaged in the Boston Marathon bombings. Or those who have lost their homes and their loved ones in tornadoes in Oklahoma and elsewhere. What about those who are evacuated because of the recent wild fires in several states. Really. And I think I've got troubles?
Often one hears "Things happen for a reason." Or, "God doesn't give you more than you can manage."

Being the person I am, I will think, "I need to know the reason now." Or, "He may think I can manage it, but really, right now I could use a break." (Then I look at my favorite Anne Lamott book, "Help, Thanks, Wow" and know I'm not alone in that thought!)
But the fact is, I can argue or I can turn it around and seek the reason. Organize the things I am presented into a way I can manage them as best as possible.

We all can. If we believe we can.
A few weeks ago I told Rick that I think I am the luckiest person in the world. Practical Rick said, "I don't think so. Look what you're going through." And I said, "Yeah, but look what I have to get me through it. Unlucky would be being alone, not having an income, a roof over my head, and most of all having good friends and family and bloggies and others in my world who care."
Yes, unlucky would be dealing with all that on top of debt I couldn't manage or a home without Lizzie. Unlucky would be dealing with this alone, without Rick. Without friends and family. Without you.
I have been overwhelmed and encouraged by the comments you have left on my blog, the emails I have received and the gifts, flowers, emails and cards that have come my way at home through this caring community. That support has lifted me through some tough moments and it fills my heart with purpose.

I will share some of the ideas and strategies I've learned from your comments to guide me in the healing process in a future post. But let me say right now that two phrases that have surfaced in many comments have been "inspirational" and "such a positive attitude."
I've never thought of myself as an inspiration to anyone, really. I just do what I do, say what I say. But I know that if it touches someone and makes a difference, then part of my work in this life has been a success. I feel rather humble for that, and honored.

As for the attitude, I've been known as being obnoxiously cheery, sometimes when I think people would prefer to bop me over the head and have me be as miserable or ticked off as they are. In fact, they've told me that. 
Cheery doesn't always work, but that's pulled me through many a tough day. And when I'm not -- and that happens -- those days are ever so much harder.

If I have a positive, can-do, must-do attitude, it is because I must. Otherwise, I will fail and fall.

I know I'll have bad times, not because I expect them (although the side effects of these drugs sort of scare me).

I'll have them because we all do. It's my turn.
And I will get a little nutsy at times. Of this I am also certain. But I will know that when I walk that path, I'm not walking alone. I am walking with you. 
And with a bunch of critters at the lake. And that will make the journey much easier.

Thank you.


Barb said...

Your words and photos fly straight to my heart, Jeanie. Often, hearing stories of illness and unimaginable loss, I realize that my own troubles are trivial in comparison. Your focus is on the glass half full - thank goodness! Looking away from your own pain and deciding (it is a decision, I believe) to keep moving forward with as much joy as possible is a lesson to us all. Be happy and be well, my friend!

The French Hutch said...

Hi Jeanie, Oh no, the shoulder injury had to be painful. I'm glad you didn’t have a break! Thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers.

The French Hutch

Linda said...

Great post! And I'm so glad it's "just" bursitis!!!! Hang in there!

ds said...

Well. I've been catching up, and I am sorry to hear of your trials (ick! to every one of 'em!), but I also applaud your attitude, Jeanie. It is, as they say, everything. Hang in there. ( i know a couple of good exercises for bursitis).And keep smiling--you have such a beautiful, warm smile!

Beth M. said...

You're SO right in saying that all of us have experienced tremendous loss at some point in our lives. I would venture to say that a lot of people--myself included--wouldn't be equipped to decipher the tremendously good moments without some point of reference for the polar opposite.

I have shared this with you before, but being human truly is a social enterprise. Consequently, none of us are ever really alone. The fact that we are all human and share in these shifts of good and bad...well, this is the genuine connection that binds all of us.

And there is nothing futile in seeking out meaning, even during an impromptu "pity party". Even something that feels void of uplifting momentum is never meaningless. It's the realization that it has any degree of meaning at all that anchors us each in humanity. And so the negative is distributed, as is the positive. For all of us to balance out among each other in love and fellowship.

Retired English Teacher said...

Your words will ring true to my heart as I head to bed tonight. Thank you. You are amazing. Thanks for reminding us of all that we do have when we face trials. You are so fortunate to have the support system you do, but don't forget, you have it because you have built it and given of yourself in so many ways across the years. It is like casting bread upon the water. It does come back to you.

I love the photos you used to illustrate your inspirational post. You always seem to give more than others can give back. Thanks for that. And, you are right, this blogging world is pretty amazing.

Mae Travels said...

This is very beautiful.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm glad you have so much wonderful support, Jeanie....I know how important that is--And as someone pointed out---You really created that! And GOOD for you that you are as giving as you are. Life certainly hands us all a lot of Lemons---and sometimes you can make Lemonade, and sometimes you just can't.
Here's to ALL your Lemons becoming Lemonade, my dear!

Tracy said...

VERY glad you are doing well, all things considered, Jeanie. And the re-tests sound positive, so that you will get the right treatment you need. Oh, I've been there too... the "Why Me" pity party. It's not a fun party, but sometimes we need to go there for a bit, face our "stuff," and open a new door to move on... To the even better, "I'm getting there party!" We've all lost something or someone. And sometimes we do have to wrestle with uncertainties we can't explain. Belief and positivity go a long way to living through dark times. If we can find ways to keep going...that's what it's all about. And you ARE an inspiration, Jeanie! Keep calm, and carry a kitty. ;o) ((LOVE & HUGS))

Joanne Huffman said...

You get support because you give support. You are the person you have constructed yourself to be; and, that is a wise, thoughtful, generous, fun person. You will get through all this because you have strength and depth of character, as well as perspective and humor. Sending [gentle] hugs.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

This is such a beautiful post, and a really good reminder for me as I have done my fair share of wallowing over the last couple of months. But when I take a step back and think about it, I am incredibly blessed. My basic needs are met in terms of food, shelter, and income, and I've got a great family and great group of friends (including you) that are supporting me through this not-so-great phase of my life. And I have been reminded that it can be much worse as I am watching friends go through things that are not temporary or reversible, as my current plight in life mostly is.

I am definitely very inspired by you. You do have such a positive attitude and you continue to give me the gift of perspective. But you are also very real and you acknowledge that things are tough and you are sad/frustrated/etc. I think you've managed to strike a balance between staying cheery but allowing yourself to feel the things you are feeling.

beth said...

thank you for this dose of positivity and honesty and realness....i needed it all, badly !!!


vicki (skiourophile) said...

Thank you, Jeanie - you remind me of all the most wonderful things about being a part of the blogging community.

Jeanie said...

Your post and all the above comments are so telling about who you are. In a way you are giving encouragement to others even as you face difficulty in your own life.
My internet is on and off right now so I won't say more, but know you are in my thoughts.

Friko said...

You are a plucky so-and-so, aren’t you?

If you ask me, and you don’t, of course, I’d say that there is no answer to ‘why me’. I absolutely believe that these trials are random; if it’s you who gets it in the neck, it just is.

In the long run, we all get our share and there’s no home without its corner for moaning, raving and ranting over the unfairness of it all. But it isn’t unfair, of course. Its part of life, which is sometimes sh-tty and sometimes good.

Keep remembering how lucky you are in adversity.
There is one other reason I used to consider myself lucky when I was at the receiving end: the fact that I am bloody-minded and tough enough to get up and get through when thousands wouldn’t.

At least, that’s what I told myself.

I am thinking of you.

The Artful Diva said...

I'll meet you at the asylum - we can have tea - or a martini - your choice!

Arti said...

Thank you for this inspiring post, Jeanie. It's so amazing that you're handling your condition with such grace, courage, and acceptance. May God continue to guide you and strengthen you. I'm sure He is walking with you all the way, remember the footprints in the sand? If you find only one set of footprints, it's because He is carrying you through.

Shelia said...

Aw, Jeanie, you are an inspiration. Things happen to all of us at times that we really wish would have passed over us. But as we go through these tests and trials we have a decision on how we'll react to those around us and you're doing it with grace.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Vivian Swift said...

It is very generous of you to acknowledge other people's pain in the midst of your own misery. Your Purr Therapist is clearly a miracle worker, to give you this kind of clarity and grace.

In hard times I like to recall Benjamin Franklin's words: "God gave us champagne because he loves and wants us to be happy."

you deserve a case of bubbly!

shoreacres said...

OK. I'll confess. When I saw those footprints in the sand, I laughed out loud. I couldn't help thinking, "A heron, a raccoon and a dog went onto a sandbar, and the heron said..."

But the old joke points to some of the very things you have going for you - a variety of friends willing to hang out, an ability to laugh, and enough distance from your story to keep telling it as well as living it.

All you have to do is keep on truckin'.

Anonymous said...
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Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Dear Jeanie,
First I would like to thank you for leaving such a kind note while I was on my blog break..

I wish everyone could read this post.. Your words here are so true, and you have expressed it so very well.
It's like my dad use to say... I felt bad because I did not have shoes, until I saw a man with no feet..

I am sure I have missed so much, I hope your health is improving.
Please know that I have kept you in my thoughts and prayers..
blessings my friend,

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Marilyn said...

I must say this is perfectly said. But now that you have been hit with several things all at once, it is your time to get better. In the meantime it sounds like you are doing a good job of keeping a smile on your face. Take care and you are always in our prayers.

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Hi Jeanie,
Thank you so much for coming by and I'm so sorry to hear what you've been dealing with. But it certainly sounds like you have a lot of support and are blogging your way through. Please reach out when you need friends and know you are thought of!
Big hugs, Kirsten

Jenny Woolf said...

Your posts really are inspirational. It is wonderful to read your blog and feel the positive vibes. I have been in a bad time recently for various reasons, and I think that things combined to make it harder than it's ever been before. I found that counting my blessings was the best way through it. We are lucky indeed,compared even with others that we know. And far luckier than so many millions of those we don't know personally.

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