Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pressing Diamonds from Coal: Making Something of the Hard Times

As I said on Monday’s blog, the last week has been a long series of personal emergencies. Trials might be a better word. My mom ended up in the hospital and was bad enough the doctors considered removing part of her lung. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. I sprained my ankle so bad that I thought it might be broken for a little while. Plus, I had those minor little things that crop up during the major ones. It was a frightening and very stressful week.

But it made me think of what we do with times like this. As I described to a dear friend during the worst of it, everything felt so unreal and yet painfully present. I’m sure many of you can relate. When we’re faced with tragedy or even just the possibility, what do we do with it?

Of course, psychologists have a whole series of behavioral models and such, but I’m not talking about that.

I’m a firm believer that we choose what to do with what we’re handed in life. My mom went into the hospital with some scary possibilities, and she proved a champion through it all. Instead of lying in bed feeling sorry for herself, she interacted with people, read, and even made her own bed. As much as she could, she was active and embraced all possibilities to interact with her world, confined as it was for a while. The nurse told her that most patients just lie there and don’t move, and as a result, they don’t heal very quickly. This didn’t mean that my mom wasn’t sometimes frightened, upset, or sick and tired of the hospital. But she didn’t let those emotions overwhelm her and dictate her actions.

Certainly, I was upset for her, but I did what I could to help my family more. For me, acting to do something to help is a great aid. I poured out my heart to a steadfast, comforting, and wonderful friend, but when I was done, I returned to finding ways to make the time easier on my parents.

Some say that the trials make us strong, that without them we would not appreciate our blessings. Perhaps that it true. But I think that most of all, they teach us how to deal with life. With each trial we choose to be active or passive, look to the small blessings or sink into the misery of sorrow, fear, or pain. Trials can make us appreciate life or resent it. In short, trials are where we choose to be the people we are; it’s where we practice our best traits or where we sink into our worst vices. Trials are a part of life, and knowing we have a choice in how we deal with them lends a great sense of purpose and power to endure.

The people I have met who are the brightest gems are those who have suffered. A diamond cannot form without extreme pressure. But after, they sparkle even in the darkness of life, and they do not break.

I have faced many trials in my life, and I try in my hit or miss ways to be half of what I describe here. In the worst moments, I remember, eventually, this must end. Eventually, things change, and I just have to hold on until then.

How about you? What helps you during the trials of life?

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