“Everyone I know is in the fight of their lives…and I believe there is a better way” ~ Ben Harper
I didn’t get a fair shake, but then again who does?
You know you are at your lowest when you are lying in a bed in the I.C.U. with a nurse pumping your chest to keep you from exploding all over the loved ones looking confoundedly at the pile that is you before them.
Definition of falcon punch: a baby, a stroke, a baby admitted to the hospital, a flooded basement, a worried eight year old with an M.I.A. father, a little post-partum depression and a lot of fear of the future.
Example: “life threw Quenby a walloping falcon punch this year.”
It gets brighter. Keep reading.
Life is no longer a journey for me. A journey indicates the cliché of boundless and unknown possibilities—skipping down the yellow brick road.
Life to me now, in my mid-30s, has shown itself to be a pilgrimage.
Yes, there are boundless possibilities but the damn road is long and it’s not made completely out of yellow bricks and you wear through several pairs of shoes (none of which are ruby slippers) and it can get pretty tricky steep and sticky at points. And then there are the forks in the road, the turnabouts, and the deserts where you don’t know which way is North.
But then, there are the other pilgrims.
I am one person, traveling all terrains with some baggage and the essentials. I have encountered people and possibilities that have lightened my load. Sometimes they have lifted my burden for me entirely so I might find humble rest—even for a short while.
A stroke and a baby would send the strongest traveler into a tailspin.
We look around and there is loss and wreckage and trouble all over the pilgrim’s path. We look deeper and in those treacherous and trying traps we see glimpses of grace—in our friends, our family, our faith, maybe even in ourselves if we are lucky.
So after all my whining and crying and in between the sadness of post-partum-post-stroke-baby-puke-can’t-cook loss of identity that happens to more women than are willing to admit, I decided to reach out to the other travelers and ask them about their problems with pain.
I dug deep. I turned to friends and mentors from childhood and beyond. I had no shame in asking, for these other travelers were glimpses of hope—then and now. The response was overwhelming. I have found this community of genuine people who have made their way up to the surface through all kinds of different rip tides.
I found I was not walking a path of pain alone—that others had soujourned, struggled and come out triumphant.
Perspective can be a beautiful pearl that washes up after a mighty storm.
Reaching out to the right people at the right time can shelter us from the storm.
Life lifted me up like a barbell four months ago. I was at the top. Whatever was holding me up was not strong enough to keep me there and I came crashing down hard, with all my weight, to the floor. The echo of the fall clanged and rattled in the room.
And I found, while I was splayed out on the floor with all my woes and all my fears, that the helping hands of friends and family and strangers were there, reaching out to lift me back up. I just had to lift my head to see their kind arms outstretched, ready to welcome my wounded soul safely in.
So, why write this?
Because you might be going through something similar.
Because selfies get boring.
The picture is always better when you are leaning on a loved one.
Because I am healing. And I am healing because I reached out and went looking for the others on the path—some further behind, some farther ahead, but all headed toward the same destination of inner peace.
Who are we without others who lift our burdens, carry our baggage, accept us in our weakness and prove over and over again that the clearings and vistas beyond the thorny trails are best enjoyed while holding the hands of those that love you and lift you up?
Author: Quenby Schuyler
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Neal Fowler/ Flickr