Sunshine After the Rain

Biding my time before surgery, I have an appointment with the surgeon himself this Monday. I’m obsessively looking up the ejection fraction percentage for a gallbladders, which should be in the range of 35-75%, and mine is 30%, so it’s not that bad. I’ve been advised to try holistic approaches before venturing off to have the doctors pry me open. I then thought about acupuncture, so I sifted around online and found a few people, some who were just straight out of college trying out a new profession, mostly anglo and eager to make a buck out of poking people with needles. I want traditional Chinese people doing this---not some waitress/student/wannabe acupuncturist. Then I found the perfect one: an old Chinese guru right down the block. She asked what’s bothering me and I told her I had stomach issues and explained my concern about how itchy the doctors wanted to open me up and suck this gallbladder right out of my bellybutton. She was thrilled to hear I opted for the alternative. She’s also into Chinese medicine and said she would make me a few concoctions that’ll relieve many of my ailments. I’m hoping she doesn’t make me fry up a few scorpions over a bed of feline intestines. We’ll see how this goes.

For the past year, I feel as though my life revolves around medical waiting rooms. After getting tests done, then you have to sit home like a fricken monkey and wait around yet again for the results. It’s frustrating. I’m 36 yrs old living the life of a 95 yr old. I told my mother, “Next you’ll be hearing about my hip replacement.” It never ends. I started feeling really depressed because I feel like it’s infringing on my quality of life. I'm always getting sick, I'm too ugly, I'm getting fat, I'm too too too much... It was then I had spoken to someone who enlightened me about “life” and how everyone’s life is different; various crosses to bear, and as she put it, people’s “shadows”. We all have “shadows” we want to get out of, a health issue, depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. We all have something. We can either hide it or relate to one another. Most hide it though. While you may think someone else may have the perfect life: a nice house, nice cars, wealth, the perfect body, a Huxtable-like family or whatever, they may be going through something you wouldn’t dare choose to trade. We’re all insecure to a degree, whether we think we’re not good enough, rich enough, thin enough, funny enough - some people tend to get into certain mindsets that offset what’s truly going on. For instance: people who insult everyone. You know the type, the one that says you don’t look good or your job isn’t good enough, you could do better or they may even insult your spouse/partner. Everything out of their mouth is an insult or an indirect one. Where do you think that comes from? Why would someone care so much if you didn’t “look that good” or you didn’t have the “perfect mate”? They insult so they can feel better about their own lives. It's a negative way of going about "feeling good", but sometimes, it's their only way. It’s all about insecurity issues.

So many of us are walking around depressed, and for good reason. Most of us are adrenaline junkies, whether it’s getting that temporary high from buying something big, or having an affair and even to the point of those thrill seeking bungee jumpers. It’s a rush; a thrill that’ll last for probably a few days. The novelty of all of these euphoric highs only last for so long. What about the constant joy; the inner peace? Do we have it? And if we do have it, would we know it? Think about it ---what gives you inner peace each and every day? What one thing gives you happiness when you come home? Your inner peace can be the love you have for your children, your family or your time alone in a bubble bath with a glass of wine (which is my personal favorite). That’s why I believe in writing down ten things that you’re grateful for---a gratitude list. It keeps you in check when things aren't going so good, or as you would like. When you list the things you are grateful for, watch how your level of happiness rises, at least some level that puts you in a better perspective about things, about life and about how lucky you truly are, even if you’re going through the most difficult time.

I read something today in a Christian-based magazine called, “The Word for Today”. Whether you’re faith is of another religion, it’s just a really great message...

“The good news is, there’s no such thing as a purposeless trial! Each trial is designed to launch us to a new spiritual level. The interesting thing about our trials is, they’re custom made; they have our name on them. Paul discovered two things about his trials (a) The reason for the trial. 'To keep me from becoming conceited' (2Co 12:7 NIV). (b) The result of the trial. 'That Christ’s power may rest on me' (2Co 12:9 NIV). Like a tailor measuring you for a suit that will fit perfectly, the Holy Spirit customizes the trials we encounter to meet our spiritual need, to mould us, and to make us more like Jesus!”

One of my personal favorite stories is this next one, recycled through emails, but sends a beautiful message:

“Is Your Cross Too Heavy to Bear?"

"The young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. 'Lord, I can't go on,' he said. 'I have too heavy of a cross to bear.' The Lord replied, 'My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish.' The man was filled with relief. 'Thank you, Lord,' he sighed, and he did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. 'I'd like that one, Lord,' he whispered. And the Lord replied, 'My son, that is the cross you just brought in.'"

When life's problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined. YOUR CROSS --whatever your cross, whatever your pain--there will always be sunshine after the rain.