I know I have days where I’d like to throw a big ole pity party. Everyone has those days (sound of glasses clinking, noisemakers honking and an unenthusiastic “Hurrah” from the crowd). I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, and I see a lot of bitching and moaning about not having enough money, not having enough creative time, being too sad (not having enough happiness), and not having enough youth (aging). Sure, there are real losses and real dramas out there.
However, most of us get some recovery time, some time to take a deep breath, wipe away a tear or two (or many), put on a happy face, and go forward until things are better.
But what if you don’t get rebound time? What if every single day was a challenge and presented you with new significant problems and your down time was nonexistent? How would you breathe deep and go to your happy place knowing that if you had one (or God forbid two) glasses of wine and your child stopped breathing you might not be alert enough to resuscitate your baby?
That’s the reality for some folks out there. They are always "on call." Some of our fellow men and women crumble under these conditions. Oh yes, they do. Some self medicate and become addicts, while others quietly implode. A few lash out (anger is the flip side of fear or pain), and others walk away. Bless all of them.
Then there are some folks that for whatever reasons, exhibit true grit, more often referred to as poise.
Poise was one of the adjectives bandied about this Olympic season. While I was impressed with the athletes and I do think they exhibit great courage, strength and sense of purpose, their competitive endeavors don’t really define poise for me the way my friend Courey does.
This young woman has it in spades. Her toddler son, Linden, has been diagnosed with an incurable condition, one that has challenged her almost every day with new medical problems. It took nearly two years to come up with a diagnosis, and the current opinion is that he has mitochondrial disease, which is rare and incurable (Oprah's friend Mattie Stepaneck, the boy who gave us HeartSongs, had a type of Mito disease). The diagnosis means he'll probably always get all his meals and fluids through a stomach tube, he'll always need oxygen and he'll always get tired. And it is fatal.
She handles all of this, even the concern that her lovely daughter Aniyah may be somehow forgotten in this journey, with poise. She demonstrates to us in her blog that she is not a hero, but a beautifully flawed, “boring” Mom who is going to continue to do her best for her entire family. At the same time, she will seek beauty, joy and fun where ever she can. In her own words:
“We may not like it, but that is how it is, so we better just deal. So we’re taking it all a day at a time and not worrying any more about tomorrow than we have to. We love him, and he’s a happy boy, and that is all that matters to us.”
Courey even patiently educates us how to be her friend, how to treat her and her family, in the most practical and loving way.
Her August post really illustrates her poise, and that's why I nominate it for August's Perfect Post award. The monthly Perfect Post award is the dreamchild of Suburban Turmoil and Petroville.
We can learn from Courey. She shows us to look at the good things we do have, focus on the positive choices that will make the situation better, and don’t stop loving those around us. It doesn’t mean that we don’t get to cry. Or get mad. Or retreat. We can do all that, but at some point, we have to deal with our pain constructively because that’s really the only intelligent choice. Poise is hope in thoughtful and creative action, one day at a time.