People often ask me, "How do you do it? How do you stay so positive?"
Really? Me? Positive? If you told my family that I'm a positive person, they would laugh their heads off! Unfortunately, they see the real me, and while I try not to let them see it, the "real me" comes out all too often. The real me needs too much help to get normal things done. If I want to go out, for example, someone else has to help me get dressed (usually my husband). Like putting on my socks and shoes, because my spine has deteriorated to the point where I can no longer bend down. Also, my legs no longer bend properly because of my lymphedema. Someone else has to be on hand to get my scooter out of the car, too, because I am not allowed to lift heavy things (I have two hernias). And someone else needs to drive because lately, I can barely reach the pedals in the car. Seriously, I think I'm shrinking!
For someone who is (or was) very independent and would often go out and do things with friends at the spur of the moment, it is frustrating not to be able to get up and go. I have to rely on others. I don't like it that I have become a burden to my family. I know I have, because when we think about vacations or going anywhere at all, it always comes with the "what about Mom?" line in the next breath. For example, to visit my daughter, who lives about eight hours away from us, we have to pack my scooter, a tub-chair, and my CPAP machine. We also have to stay at a hotel, so that means getting an accessible room. Did I happen to mention I'm also accident-prone? Letting me outside in the winter is the last thing my family wants to do because if someone is going to slip and fall, IT WILL BE ME. Hands down! Without exception, if something terrible is going to happen, then I will be the one it happens to.
Now, does that sound positive to you? My husband says I'm a pessimist. I say I'm a realist. How can I not be? We have been married for 37 years, and the first "accident" I had was on our honeymoon. I reached into my makeup bag and sliced the tip off my finger on an uncovered razor blade. I can't imagine what the maid thought when she saw all the blood.
Throughout the years, I have sprained ankles, snapped tendons, fallen down the stairs (three times, once with my newborn son in my arms). I have broken my thumb three times (going down water slides - don't ask), and let's not forget the accidents in the kitchen (just don't let me near knives). On top of all that, I was diagnosed with an incurable disease that, from time to time, leaves me with severe infections that require me to be hospitalized. All in all, my husband had no idea what he was in for. Poor man.
So how do I not give in to feeling sorry for myself and have a pity party? I have five key strategies that I have relied on for years, and without them, I think I would go mad. I share them here because maybe you are in a situation where you want to give up and cry. Trust me - I have had those days. Don't give into them. Pity parties are the worst sort of parties. They only have one person attending them - YOU! So before you throw one for yourself, try one of these strategies instead.
Of the many nuggets of truth I have found within The Revelation, this one is "mind-blowing."
In Revelation 20:12 it says:
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
She was laughing, her eyes a bright twinkle that outshone the stars in the sky. They mesmerized him. Are her eyes always this bright? As he watched her, she began to glow. Mary? What is happening to you? Wait – it isn’t Mary – what is happening? Why is everything getting so bright?
That was not Mary’s voice. That was unlike any voice he had ever heard before – magnificent, and reverberating.
“Joseph, do not be afraid!”
As the light began to grow brighter, Joseph found himself unable to move. His chest tightened in fear. His eyes, although closed, were blinded by the light shining around him.
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Eight days later, Elisabeth and Zechariah welcomed their neighbours and relatives into their home for the baby’s circumcision. A Hebrew surgeon named Lemuel was called to perform the ceremony.
“This is a wonderful day!” Lemuel rejoiced, clapping his hands together. “We have gathered together to celebrate with Zechariah and his wife Elisabeth in the birth of their son. I am sure that this little one, who came to them so late in life, will bring them great joy!” He took the baby from Elisabeth and cradled him in his arms. “This ceremony of circumcision was instituted by Yahweh as the sign of the covenant between Him and the Jewish people. It reminds us that we are to belong to God, worshipping and obeying Him. On this day it is also tradition to name the baby.” He looked to Zechariah and asked, “Will this child be named after you?”
“Mary!” she exclaimed as she drew her close. “Dear Mary! What are you doing here?”
“Elisabeth!” Mary hugged her and at the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elisabeth gasped and clutched her stomach.
In a loud voice, she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear.”
Mary’s eyes widened in shock. Elisabeth knows? How could she know?
“But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Elisabeth asked, cupping Mary’s cheek with her hand. “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. You are blessed my child, because you have believed everything the Lord has told you.”