Thursday, December 2, 2010

This should be one of the easiest posts for me to write, but it's not.

It's one of the very hardest.

A long time ago I was taught that to write, one must begin. Just write and the words will come. So, here I go...

There is simply no way to narrow down the things I'm thankful for to 3, so I'm going to create 3 categories that my favorite things fit into:

1. The Challenges. Yes, it's shocking I know. It's not that I like living with adversity - no, not at all. It is the adversity in our lives that challenge us and make us grow. Bones are made stronger by use, muscles too. I think Health Activists become stronger with use, and I'm no exception to that rule. The hard stuff knocks me down, and the weak person inside me wants to just roll over and quit. Then that other part of me keeps nagging at me "Get up! Someone else could benefit from this. It's so selfish of you to keep this to yourself." And, I pull myself up and away I go. I'm not always very graceful about it when the chips are down, but I am stubborn (not to be confused with strong). Once I make up my mind, it's hard to convince me otherwise. I can't stand thinking that I am living through something this hard for nothing... so I make something of it!

2. The Work. I am disabled because I don't function very well. I can walk and talk, but to someone who is alone at home all day long who can't go outdoors, that really is a recipe for disaster. By all rights I should be angry, depressed, unhappy, unmotivated, sad... well, you get it. Being a Health Activist gives me purpose. Everyone needs a purpose. A reason to get up in the morning and something to do to contribute to their world. I don't like being sick, not one little bit. But I do love getting up in the morning and going to the computer to see what I can write about next, or what emails from which friends are waiting for me to answer. Even when I am stuck in bed the thought of the work ahead of me fills me with anticipation, enthusiasm, and with smiles. I tell everyone I have the best job in the world, and I mean it.

3. The Rewards. When I stop to think what my life was like before I became a Health Activist, it seems like another lifetime ago. I was a different person. I was the one that gave up. I literally crawled into a ball and suffered because I thought that was my only choice. If the doctors couldn't help me, I was sunk. Now I look at my computer and the office and home around me and realize how rich I am. No, I don't have a spare dime to my name, but I have friends I've never met who send me Christmas presents and call me when I've missed a few days online. No matter where I go anymore, there's someone I can meet for lunch, or just an airport meeting and a hug. I have handmade thank you cards on a bulletin board to my left - I can't help it, my favorites are from kids. And when my children, now all grown up, come into the house with their noisy voices and their laughter, I remember what it was like when they were sick and the doctors told us they'd done all they knew to do for them too. My mom, my FIL, my hubs, my brother, my childhood friends, my neighbors. Their smiles and hugs mean the world to me. When things are especially rough I cling to those thoughts. They don't realize that I am the one that should thank them because when they asked for help they gave me purpose. They gave me a reason to keep on fighting and living and smiling.

Without these three things I wouldn't be a Health Activist...
Comment by Janeen on December 2, 2010 at 9:34pm
Ellen, I love this post! I think it's my favorite one yet. Thanks so much for sharing. It's funny, but I don't think of you as disabled. I think of you as a super hero... as my hero :)
Comment by Ellen S on December 3, 2010 at 9:17pm
Thank you so much, but I assure you, the feeling is completely mutual. I just SO wish I'd known you back when our family was struggling with allergies. ((Hugs))

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