Monthly Archives: June 2013


The View From Here

I am trying to hold on to the joy, to rejoice each day, but there are too many people who seem to be adversely affected with a blasé, if not hopeless, view of life!  And they seem determined to share it with everyone whether folks want to hear it or not. You can’t simply turn off the TV — it’s everywhere — salespeople have forgotten how to smile, businesses want you to talk to computers after wading through complicated phone algorithms and then wait an hour for your turn to talk to a human being (or should I say an individual with little power, who usually transfers you to another hold line), and yes, I spent 6 hours (I kid you not) on the phone with a company! I was transferred 7 times and placed on hold each time. No, the problem was never resolved.  I don’t get it, honestly. How do places stay in business? Life is full of actual heart-breaking physical and mental pain. Must we be forced to interact and ultimately pay for the “service” we receive from these humorless, unhelpful, and sour reservoirs of dissatisfaction and gloom?

Having lived with significant pain for 30+ years, I have learned our potential for coping is greatly enhanced by maintaining a positive attitude and interacting with others who are uplifting, helpful, and courteous.  Aren’t we challenged to love one another?  If not love, can’t we at least be kind to each other?

Next time you encounter someone who appears to be bored and disinterested in doing their job, try smiling or put a jolly cheerful tone to your voice as you thank them for their assistance. Tell them they made your day and that you won’t forget them, laugh gleefully and walk away. At least they’ll think about you and wonder (if not worry) whether you’re a real nut job or not! Take joy where you can find it!



A Real Live Ballerina

We met a “real live ballerina” much to the surprise of my niece.  I had to ask if she was expecting her to be other than live?!?  We laughed and commented after meeting her that she is no ordinary lady. Yes, she is beautiful, elegant, and poised (what one would expect in a ballerina). But when she talks you feel like you are in the presence of grace. There is an elegance, style, and charm that have all but disappeared in this ordinary, fast-paced, abrupt world we live in.

Having a chronic disease which destroys joints, dislocating and fusing the beauty (which can so clearly be seen in ballet) into misshapen and distorted alignment, is challenging. The awesomeness of a ballet flows so fluidly and the magnificence is simply breathtaking. Tears fall, not from personal regret and envy, but from the knowledge of the perfection in which our bodies were made and how they were meant to perform.

This broken world deals pain to all; some individuals are inconvenienced on occasion and others endure a lifetime of chronic relentless discomfort. Having rheumatoid arthritis (a disease which takes delight in destroying the joints causing pain, stiffness, instability, and swelling), the ballet has always left me inspired. Someday I know I will feel that grace and elegance when I get there–Up Above. Until then, I will strive to look for the joy in the mystery of life. For as Barbara Barker, “a real live ballerina,” says, “Suffering is the sculpting tool of God. Difficulties are there to make us depend on Him and not on ourselves.” Check out her book; I did.

What does it take to live a life of radical faith – a life that can only be explained by God? In Faith Pointes, Barbara B. Barker shares the basic life lessons that make radical faith possible. With stories of victories and failures from her own personal faith journey, you will be encouraged to follow God on this exciting path.



Creating New Patterns

I learned many years ago that we are responsible for what we do and what we think about. Controlling what we do has always seemed like an easier concept to me. Yes, we are at risk for falling into old patterns (responding in the same old way we always have), especially when we are weak from pain and fatigue, physical or emotional. We can slip back into those old patterns of behaviors because they are familiar.

Did you know we need to plan to change? Like so many other things, it is a process.  Let’s say there is someone in your life who doesn’t believe you’re in significant pain. Whenever you talk to them you end up crying or fighting. Plan for the next time you interact with them. In counseling they say when working toward change to “take off the old way of doing things and put on the new.” Learn a new way and toss out the old pattern of responding. The key is to prepare. Read, think, start a journal, write down talking points, and be prepared.

Also, when loving someone who wants to change and doesn’t know how, we must help them identify something to put in the place of the old habit/pattern and join them in renewing the mind. This will help support them, providing love and encouragement.



Self Pity

Self-pity is, indeed, paralyzing at times. In my life, it has been mostly about health issues.  Pains, joint destruction leading to disfigurement, limited physical abilities and strength, and fatigue have haunted my young adulthood.

Circumstances can overwhelm us and health issues can affect the entire family, relationships, and career goals and choices. All of us have times in our life of sadness that can lead to self-pity. We must learn not to let this control us. Even when we have limited choices in what we can do, we have control over what we think.  This is a tremendous concept. Spending hours in sadness wondering why; reviewing old hurtful memories, looking at life as the world does; can zap the joy out of you and play havoc with those you love.

There is much we can do — make a list (call a high school friend, write a relative, go outside, picnic, swim, watch a funny movie, take pictures, etc.). We all want to feel a sense of belonging and to be loved. Reach out to others and they will be more likely to reach for you.