Saturday, January 25, 2014

Peace: It's not what you expect

I've been thinking a lot about Peace lately.

Whenever anyone goes through a hard time - personally or seeing someone they love going through something - we often ask for prayers for Peace

I have asked for lots of prayers of Peace lately.

The thing is, I don't think I really knew what that would feel like.


What does that really mean to a person going through something life-changing and difficult?

Well, here is what I've learned:

I have come to realize that I have found that Peace.

I have anxiety at times.

I get frustrated and sad.

I have moments where I want to throw my hands up and just give up.

Don't assume that Peace means everything is suddenly OK and all those feelings of fear, concern, anger, etc. are suddenly, magically gone. 

We are humans after all. We need to give us all a break.

But here's how I know I'm at Peace...

Right before Christmas I went on a very important errand of picking up bacon for the dish I was making for Christmas dinner - serious, important stuff.

It was snowy and icy on the roads, but let's face it, good bacon is worth it (vegans/vegetarians may not get this, but trust me, it's true).

I came upon a red light and with more than enough time/space, I pumped my breaks. Clearly my wheels hit ice because the breaks were all "um... nope." So I started to slide. 

Normally in the winter when my wheels catch and I slide a little I start shushing the car. No joke. I adjust the wheel as need and go "shhhh....shhhhh....shhhhhhhhhh" until it straightens itself out. It works 99.9% of the time! 

(I really mean to say 'shit' over and over again, but it just turned into shushing and I like that better).

This time, my shushing did nothing. My car was all "yeah, I get it, but no. I'm just going to go with this." Before stopping my car was completely perpendicular and there were a ton of cars around me. Thankfully, no accidents and everything was fine.

I've been in situations like that before and as the car turns and I'm out of control with other cars all around, my heart races and I internally freak out even though that does nothing - I have no control whatsoever.

This time, I did what I could and once I realized I couldn't do anything, I just let it happen. Obviously prayed for safety of the cars/people around me, but internally I was just like "ok, whatevs." No heart racing, no panic, no fear. Just whatever is, will be. I was at Peace.

I recently had my first trip out of state since my diagnosis. Our trip involved volunteering in Nashville and attending Passion Conference in Atlanta. It was fantastic.

On our last night in Nashville, one of the guys was pushing me in the wheelchair and accidentally pushed me off a curb. 

In a classic moment, the wheelchair went forward and down and I was thrown face first into the street. Honestly, I wish I could have watched it. When I think about it now I just laugh at the thought of the sight.

Normally in those types of situations I would immediately start crying - out of embarrassment mostly, but also pain, fear (there was a car coming my way), etc. 

This time, nothing. I honestly didn't care. I asked that my friend (who felt just awful about it) let me sit there for a moment as I got myself together, but I wasn't upset or embarrassed. I was at Peace. I was fine, emotionally.

The next day I ended up having to miss the first night of the conference because I needed to go to the ER in Atlanta. Totally by myself (I wouldn't let anyone come with me since they'd miss the conference, too) in an ER in an unfamiliar state for an entire evening. I was not freaking out at all. It was what it was and that was OK. I was at Peace.

Finally, I had a dream where I was falling. I'm sure most people have had those. You wake up in a bit of a panic because you were falling to your death. It was scary and uncomfortable.

While in that dream I literally said "let it happen. It's ok. Don't wake up. It's ok. Just let it happened." I was totally OK with whatever was going to happen. Even in dreamworld I was at Peace. (for those of you who are curious, dream me landed and was fine).

So that's where I am. It's not perfect. It doesn't mean that I'm like "yeah, Pulmonary Hypertension, this is awesome!! I love every part of it! Woo!!" If I was like that, I'd recommend you admit me to an insane asylum. 

But I'm OK. Whatever happens will happen. It is what it is. I'll do my best in each day and move on to the next. I'm at Peace.

It's a good feeling. I wish everyone could experience it.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Hope: The Truth

I interrupt this very irregular "broadcast" with an unusual moment of seriousness. My apologies.

Today I've been thinking a lot about Hope. So I thought I'd share.

Since my diagnosis, I've certainly had my ups and downs emotionally.

Particularly since my 3-week stay in the hospital, many people have noted my positive attitude. They tell me I "look good" and sound "upbeat." Which, as most people would tell you, is important when you're sick. 

And let's face it, I may not always look it, but

I'm sick.

Really sick.

Seriously sick.

This isn't something that is taken lightly by my team of doctors. They like to remind me just how sick I am, in case I've forgotten.

People ask me how I stay so positive throughout this.

My initial internal response is usually one of the following: "I'm positive? Ha! Ok." or "Heck if I know."

But I give them the story about how I told God if I lived through a procedure that wasn't any more risky than any other procedure but could - in fact - kill me if things went bad, that I'd be positive.

And that's true. That happened. I said that and for the most part, I did that.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I have good days and bad days.

(which is really more like "alright days", "crap days" and "really shit days")

But I got to thinking today, what people see as my positive, "upbeat" attitude through this really shit time, all boils down to Hope.

Hope is such a lovely word, isn't it?

It's pretty. It brings about thoughts of positivity, light, happiness, glee, expectation.

The dictionary's first definition of Hope is: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.


We all want Hope, in every day things. And people particularly look for Hope in the really crap times.

Hope in itself is positive and grand. But it is what you put that Hope in that really defines how you're handling the situation.

I realized today that I live every day with Hope. Every. Single. Day. 

But not always for the reasons you'd think.

Some days I have Hope in Healing

Hope in Love

Hope in Restoration

Hope in the Future (Hope that it's a long future)

Hope in Adventure

Hope in Life

But here's the truth

Other days, my Hope is that it advances quickly and I don't have to live very long.

Hope in Death

Hope in Relief

Hope in The End

And then of course,

Hope that it's all true, everything I've been taught and believed

Hope in Eternity

Hope in Salvation

Hope in Everlasting (healthy) After Life

It's not what people want to hear. They want only positivity.

Laughter is the best medicine.

A positive spirit will keep you strong.

And it's there, don't get me wrong, mostly I'm right there with you.

But not everyone is positive 100% of the time - sick or not.

I just read the book "A Fault In Our Stars" about 2 teenage cancer patients who fall in love. Super cute, super sad, I'd recommend it, all that jazz. But what I loved the most was how honest the main characters were about the really shit time they were going through.

The fear of being a Grenade - someone who leaves a wake of sadness and pain when they pass and not wanting to add anymore people to the "blast zone" while they were alive.

Honestly not having the energy to keep up the front that everyone expects and to just sit there and realize that "that's the thing about pain... it demands to be felt."

I don't want to give off the impression that I'm sitting at home drowning in my own despair, one step from slitting my wrists. If I was, I would not be writing this.

But that's my answer to why I am positive. Because every day I live in Hope. Most days it is happy Hope, other days you may not want to know where my Hope lies. But in the long run, I'm hopeful.

I am full of Hope.

And day by day I see where that Hope leads.