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One thing is for sure, young grasshopper, change happens.

January 22, 2014

Sometimes it is welcomed; once in awhile forewarned and we have that chance to prepare; frequently not and we are simply rocked, but one thing you can be assured of:  change happens. 

 

Fear often precedes an anticipated change.  Fear of what could be and what might be.

 

Change commands acceptance or one’s life will be lurched into a downward spiral of resistance and unhappiness being obstinate to what is to be for what is this current chapter of life. 

 

Two weeks ago from this night I passed level one fear and survived my back surgery.  I passed through fear and landed on the next game of life square “acceptance of what is to be”. 

 

I am frequently “Googling” to learn meanings or definitions.  I have a voracious desire to learn what I do not know, to question (lots of questions- ask my husband!) and to grasp what I do not yet understand (ah, who am I kidding, I am short in the “know” category and tall in the “I don’t know” category so I thank God for Google.).  I was wondering what words Mr. Webster’s Book used to teach me about “acceptance” and found he referred me to the action word of “accepting”.  I found that a bit thought-provoking that “acceptance” is defined as “accepting” putting the ball back in my court informing me that to move through the barrier of acceptance I must take action. 

 

 acceptance

 

The act or process of accepting.

 

 accepting

 

To agree to take (a duty or responsibility).

 

To receive something offered, especially with gladness or approval.

 

To endure resignedly or patiently.

 

 I found the last part of the definition to be the lump in my throat I needed help in swallowing:  “to endure resignedly or patiently”.  I am a most patient person with everything and everyone around me, but find myself short of patience with myself.  When I fail to accomplish the “to do” list of the day, complete a project or pull off an event to my satisfaction or achieve the outcome that I had envisioned, I am disappointed with myself.  In this case, I had myself moving through a major surgery and returning to a life as I knew it- with maybe a bit of hindrance- by today (2 weeks should be plenty in my rulebook).    Needless to say I failed to factor in set backs, repercussions of surgery, and timelines that I cannot control, thereby failing to anticipate having a lack of control. 

 

 There is an emotional battle that wages alongside of change.  If change is for the good one must adjust humbly, open mind and heartedly allowing the change to raise that person to the best and most beneficial level possible.  A first responder who answers a call and saves a life becomes an instant hero.  A person who walks into the doctor’s office prepared for the worst and hears “You’re clear of cancer.”  A woman battered and torn who has walked from the claws of abuse to the invigorating solace of independence and self-healing.  You are in the season of beautiful and magnificently awesome reality of “positive change”.  It is to be the moment that you will look back on as one of hopefully many that contribute to your new and wonderful life.  Acceptance for you is surely something “to receive with gladness or approval”.  Soak it in.

 

 Then there is the flip side when acceptance is hindered because change spews anger, frustration, pain and regret.   Life has vaulted you to a chapter that you wouldn’t wish on your enemy or even your mother in law (I say that completely tongue in cheek being one myself!).

 

 Crossing the line between “receiving something offered with gladness or approval” to “enduring resignedly or patiently” is a huge step.  As I have tried to lift my leg over that line in the sand I have battled the very real stones along the path toward acceptance labeled as “anger”, “resentment” and “depression”.  You who have been forced to consume a serving of trials and difficulties that you did not sign up for and are truly trying to learn to accept know how hard of a task it is to cross that line.

 

 

It was Monday Nov 30th, 2009, I had responded to a Chaplain call.  My Chaplain role is a hat I wear with extreme pride, humble exhilaration, and with the utmost sincerity of my calling to the responsibility the title calls for.  I love my officers with all of my heart and will drop everything 24/7 to be of companionship, counsel or assistance to them.  I was, and am always, pleased to be called to help and left my friends that night to respond to assist.  The call had been resolved and my assistance was offered.  We wrapped up and I was readying to leave.  We were talking about dogs, kids, and food.  Sergeant and Officer asked if I wanted to stay and get something to eat with them.  I took a pass and chose to return to my seat in the group I left and catch the end of what was anticipated to be a very good Monday Night Football Game.  I cannot tell you how many times over the past 3+ years I wondered why I hadn’t chosen to stay and how life would have been so very different had I just stayed put.  We who must cross that line do that.  We question “why” and wish we had a “do over” card.  We wish we had the information now that we lacked at that crossroad between what was and what is. 

 

 

I barely made it a mile from the station when “change happened”.  I saw the pick up as I approached the cross street.  He was traveling north on Chestnut Crossing Drive, I was heading west on 127th.  I glanced as I approached the crossing but thought little of the fact that he wouldn’t do what he was supposed to do.  I remember that I was smiling thinking of the conversation I had just had and time I had just enjoyed spending at the station with people I love.  I was thrilled that I had been called on and that I could assist.  I was happy.  Then from my peripheral vision to my left I saw something that shouldn’t be happening I saw a line crossed that should have been respected.  I saw change coming and I had little control over it.  I looked left and into the to close for any good interior of the cab of his truck.  The driver was a kid and he had a young girl sitting shotgun.  Our eyes met right before our vehicles did.  He looked shocked, I can only assume I appeared the same to him.  The force was incredible. Instantly I felt like I was driving the weight of both of our vehicles, trying to steer us away from yet more devastation- the end of the street, the curb, the easement, then a fire hydrant.  I held the wheel with all of my might and desperately tried to steer my beautiful beloved red jeep away from even more devastation then it had just suffered the 17 year old errant driver had launched me off of the road and toward the hydrant it took everything I had to steer clear of that, unfortunately a young sapling took a fall and then and only then was I able to come to a complete stop and the horrific happenchance came to a resting point where I could exhale and try to take an inventory of my appendages and of any and all pains were spawned from the blow.  I saw my phone on the passenger floor board, unbuckled, retrieved it and called 911.  “Are there injuries?” 

 

“I’m not sure.” 

 

“Are you hurt?”

 

 “My head hurts.” 

 

Then the young driver and his passenger were at my broken driver’s window yelling to me. 

 

“Are you ok?” 

 

“I’m not sure.” 

 

“We didn’t see you.” 

 

“Obviously.” 

 

Then he looks away from me and toward his truck that came to rest under the street light at the north east corner of the intersection.

 

“My truck!!!  My truck is totaled!”

 

 For some reason I couldn’t muster any empathy for his loss. 

 

Everything was foggy to me.  I was wishing I could wake up but I couldn’t seem to shake the cobwebs out.  I was hoping I would open my eyes and see my bedroom ceiling.  I closed them for what seemed like a blink and prayed that this was not real.  When I opened my eyes I saw what to me were my angels responding.  Police cars sirens and lights were coming toward me and from behind me.  That smile that had been on my face what seemed not too long ago returned because these were my brothers and sisters coming to walk me through this mess.  They were at my window asking if I was ok, telling me to sit still and not move, asking if I could open the door.  For some reason I felt I needed to smile and laugh and show them I was being tough, but what was truly strengthen and comfort in this scene was their concern for me, their presence and compassion. 

 

That is how it works.  When we are handed more than “we” can handle God surrounds us with others who will offer the strength and support needed for us walk through the challenge.  I was able to get the window down and talk with them.  They made me laugh, they calmed my fears, they offered me comfort and support and promised they would not leave me.  As I leaned on their offering of assistance, my mind wandered back to the question that would echo through my head from that day forward:  “Why didn’t I just stay a bit longer?”  I could’ve prevented this unwanted and life disruptive change. 

 

 

Maybe you ask “Why didn’t I go to the doctor sooner?”  “Why didn’t I take the other route?”  “Why didn’t I see he/she wasn’t being honest?”   “Why didn’t I prepare for the potential layoff?”  “Why didn’t I enjoy when I had them in my presence more and assume our time would be more?” Only when we move forward from the pain of “Why” we can cross over to the healing of accepting the now.

 

I learned to accept the pain that came as a result of that night.   There was not one single day without pain for the 3+ years from then to now, but I learned to accept that was how it was to be.  I felt it made me tougher than snot to bear it. 

 

 

Sometimes we accept what is not the best for us because we fear the change it would take to open the door to what is better.  We stay in unhealthy relationships.  We remain at jobs that stifle our talents or smother our potential.  We keep quiet when we should roar.  We suffer silently when we should allow someone to help us open our wings and soar. 

 

 

In July I met who is now my surgeon.  He told me the pain that had worsened and limited my abilities and quality of life, would only continue to do so.  I had a choice.  My brave counterpart self said “Do it now”, then as the day approached my coward self said “you can live with this, don’t be foolish!” 

 

 

How often we talk ourselves out of the leap that will allow us to be who we are meant to be.  We hear the voice in our heads that says:  “Don’t do it!”  “Change is bad!”  “Be safe, don’t open the door when you don’t know what is behind it.”

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Acceptance requires risk, courage, and conviction. 

 

To the father who was called into the office and notified of the layoff.

 

The mom who received the call of cancer diagnosis.

 

The young girl who found out she is expecting and is barely passed childhood herself.

 

To the broken hearted that awake the day after burying a spouse or child and have to face the challenge of getting out of bed the very next day.

 

To the one who was innocently going forth with their day and became a victim to a car/motorcycle accident that should have killed them but instead regressed them to learning to walk, talk, and live again at the very age they should be focusing on the fruits of their labors from having long since passed through those years. 

 

May you move through the battlefield of acceptance to the lush, nurturing valley of resilience.  May you know in your heart, spirit, mind and soul that you were created to succeed.  You were created with plans for a future.  Hope was planted in you let it grow and move you through this change toward resilience and victory. 

 

 

If I could offer to Mr. Webster a first hand definition of what I have found “acceptance” to be I would offer this:

 

 

“Acceptance is a resolve of emotional, physical and spiritual resilience.

 

An agreement between your brain and your spirit to surmount the task, the set back the change to move forward. 

 

To understand that what was is not now and may never again be, however that is not failure nor is it detrimental to what can be. 

 

Acceptance is to open one’s heart, mind, and spirit to getting out of bed and move through each day with determination to know one is here to succeed and not fail.” 

 

 

I am inspired by those around me who have had to accept life changing chapters that have knocked them from do’ers to survivors, from strong to struggling, from those who rock the boat to those who are calling for the life preserver.  My daily battles are minute and pale in comparison yet are completely inspired by each of you who have shared your daily challenges with me.  I have watched, I have learned, I have noted every single inspirational message and lesson you have offered.  I am who I am today because you have shared your cross over toward acceptance.   I am not where I want to be but I am so determined to get there.  On this very day I can say I have accepted that I was involuntarily hurled to this point in life because of that night and on this day I am okay with that. 

 

Not every day, but that is okay. 

 

Some days I struggle and I wonder “why” and then I get mad at myself for being whiney and a weakling and I pull myself together and say “challenge me”  I will rise to meet that challenge and be stronger for it, inspired by those around me who have accepted their life changes and allowed me to learn, observe and be strengthened from their climb from rubble to resilience.   

 

I am who I am today because of every single day that has preceded this one, good and bad.  I must be thankful for all of them to receive with great respect and appreciation the current one.  For not to be thankful and accepting of who I am today would be disrespectful to the One who has gifted me with this day, which is truly a gift.  Thus called the present. 

 

 

What I can do to offer my thanks is to be the One who has allowed me the ability to be here today is to accept what I cannot change, have the courage to change what I can, and not settle but keep moving forward to being stronger, better, more giving, and reaching the potential that is within me.  My prayer for you my friend, who is struggling to cross the line from “enduring resignedly or patiently” to “accepting with gladness or approval” is that you can feel that same resolve and join me on the other side of the line as we move toward resilience, hope and a future. 

 

 

“God, give me grace to accept with serenity

 

the things that cannot be changed,

 

Courage to change the things

 

which should be changed,

 

and the Wisdom to distinguish

 

the one from the other.

 

Living one day at a time,

 

Enjoying one moment at a time,

 

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

 

Taking, as Jesus did,

 

This sinful world as it is,

 

Not as I would have it,

 

Trusting that You will make all things right,

 

If I surrender to Your will,

 

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

 

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

 

Amen.” ~ Reinhold Niebuh

 

 

 

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