What I Have Learned Two Years Post Stroke
Let me just say, a stroke is a great big momentous learning experience. One I would have gladly rather passed on, but God had different plans for me. Sometimes I wonder if I was too complacent in my sweet little life. But I am positive, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I needed to learn some thing(s).
Patience is not a virtue, but it’s a necessary trait.
Throughout all of my numerous daily tests of patience, I have learned that 1) it’s hard; and 2) it is necessary to show kindness to those who serve you. Patience is not only sitting by, waiting, but how you wait. Is your reaction in a complaining, ornery fashion, or with understanding, accepting, and, well, patience. (It the only word I could think of!)
Patience is also about picking your battles. I am cursed with perfectionism. I consider it a curse since I haven’t been able to act on my straightening urges personally. (And I find I get this urge quite often!) Someone in my precarious situation requires much assistance with my everyday needs. What do I choose? My helpers, hired or relations, only have so much goodwill in them. So how can I ask them to straighten a curtain or fix a picture frame? So I patiently overlook petty imperfections.
Then there is the huge obstacle in having patience with ourselves. We are the hardest on ourselves. It’s just human nature. Having the only the use of one hand and arm and the inability to walk has tested my patience in countless instances. (Aaaaaih!) Think about how many thing we do that requires two hands? The use of a zipper, reading a book and turning pages, reaching far items, clasping a necklace, doing your hair and makeup, practically everything! Trying to be independent and endeavor to do simple things is a massive test of my already paper-thin patience. I try. I try, sometimes inexhaustibly. It can be maddening, but, man, it is fulfilling to ultimately achieve a task I put my mind to. Then there are times when I finally cut my loses, bite my lip, and ask for help. Attitude is the name of this game. If I lose it, I’ve lost the game. I can’t be hard on myself. It is what it is.
Our world is a beautiful place.
The view from my home is extraordinary. I live near the mountains. Whenever I visit the near unaltered version of what the world was at first, I marvel at the love my Heavenly Father has for me. He knows me. Our awesome landscape is just one of the many evidences of His love. My husband, son, and his girlfriend took an ATV ride up the mountains the other day. (We had to plan it on the first snow day of the year. It was seriously cold!) Ohhh! The fall foliage was awe inspiring. To some of us, looking with the right eyes, it was humbling.
Life has it’s ups and downs.
I seem so normal on this blog. I appear to have it all together, but I am sure a therapist would have a field day with me. (Some day’s, Satan has a firm grasp on my emotions.) One day, I am feeling positive and happy. Glad to be alive. Another day, negativity and frustration cloud my thoughts, and I wonder why I must experience all this. I understand it’s not just me who experiences this emotion. That’s exactly why we desperately need faith, something to hold onto. (Like a lifesaver. No, literally a lifesaver!) We need to utilize our faith (no matter in whom we place our faith) to weather even our toughest storms. (I sure wish my “rain” would stop.)
Family is everything.
I can’t even begin to think about where I would be without my family. I have to laugh when I recall part of that saying: “Someday you’ll be changing your parents.” My family has done things that are simply unimaginable. They would win that game “Have You Ever?” They serve me food first, help me dress and put on my shoes, get in my wheelchair, and on and on. My husband has sacrificed, well, everything for me. I can’t even imagine his stress level. He is by my side, always. I am so blessed for his unwavering loyalty. I might not express it enough, but my love and gratitude for them is unwavering and endless.
We must never cease showing gratitude.
Many countless people (or rather earth angels) who have prayed for me, rendered service, visited me, contributed (large and small,) and shared a kind word. I would fight anyone, to the death, who states there is no kindness left in the world. I possess indisputable proof. There is absolutely no way I can repay, directly or pay forward, all of the selfless charity in my behalf. I can only live with gratitude in my heart. I can’t take anything for granted when I almost had it taken away from me. It is so incredibly true that the attitude of gratitude is in the way one lives. It shows to others through the way we act daily. (You’ve either got it, or you don’t.)
God wants to see me and all of us happy. Our trials are given to us to teach us. If we don’t learn from our setbacks, we dropped the ball. It is difficult to behold those hidden blessing until we are far away from trial. They are there. Some call them tender mercies. I can not deny them. I will forever be changed. What I do with those changes is up to me.
Cover photo by Holly Glover, my neighbor, my friend.