Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Acceptance vs. Resignation

We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.
Carl Jung.

I sat with a woman who is just coming out of her cocoon.......a place where pain resides in her joints. Sometimes, the pain is so harsh and so overbearing that she can't do simple things like stand in the bathtub and let a warm shower comfort her, or even get in and out of the tub which leaves her sitting on the cold porcelain side to clean herself as best as she can. Getting dressed is near impossible and anything tight fitting feels like rope digging into her skin. Reaching up into cupboards, opening a can of soup, peeling a potato hurts in winces. Breath catching winces. In her cocoon of pain, she couldn't hold a book. It was too heavy. Besides, her body was overwhelmed with fatigue. What got her through this? She always believed that relief would find her again.

I sat with a woman who suffers from arthritis. Her limbs are bent permanently but the swelling comes and goes, comes and goes...... She talked of how she looks out her window at 7:30 in the morning and watches her neighbours leave their homes and go to work. She longs to go to work again, but the last time she did, it lasted 2 weeks and then she was in bed for 3. This experience helped her accept her diagnosis and the permanance of it.

It would be easy to slip into an abyss of resignation...........just simply resign to never working, never living as fully as she once did.........allowing herself to be swallowed up by the "nevers..." but apathy isn't an option for her. Yes, she has accepted that arthritis is a reality and that it may continue to worsen. However, she refuses to let it oppress her.

We talked about the difference between acceptance and resignation. Even when she has to surrender to the pain and go to bed, away from the world, she is still in control of her life because she holds a strength of will. Her commitment to herself to hold onto hope, and her understanding that we can't stop the rain from falling keeps her emotionally liberated. She then shared her secret...........that she never feels all alone because her faith grows stronger when she feels the weakest.

I am always amazed at the power of the mind of a survivor. This woman hasn't had an easy life whatsoever. Every single day of her life has been a struggle. If it wasn't the arthritis, she was coping with a dysfunctional family, abuse and poverty. She has lived on the margins scraping by, barely coping from day to day. Every morning however, she awakens in hopes that maybe she can go to work again, that she will be able to commence with accomplishing the simple things again, that maybe when she takes her daughter to the Mall, that she will have the stamina to join her daughter browsing in the stores rather than sitting in the car waiting.

Some days she can. And some days, she needs to let the rain fall with the knowledge that it too shall pass.

Apathy is not in her vocabulary. May the sun shine on her.


Gypsy said...

I so admire people with that kind of courage and perseverance. You hear so many people complain of petty little things and they have no idea how lucky they are or how people like the one you spoke of would do anything to swap places with them. God bless that dear lady and help ease her pain.

Barbara said...

This woman inspires me with her attitude of acceptance and makes me so very grateful that (so far)I am relatively healthy.

I agree with what Gypsy said too.

Rainbow dreams said...

It is truly inspiring to hear stories of people like this - it can help to look at life through a different lens now and again...I still feel I have much to learn...

Mark said...

Our spirit is amazing! This woman is a great example of one who lives in spirit and by doing so inspires all of us. Thanks for sharing!

Awareness said...

I was intrigued by my recent reading on the whole idea of acceptance vs. resignation and it was one of those strange winks from the cosmos where i found myself sitting with someone who was a classic example of what I had just been thinking and reading about.

It's amazing how often that happens.

When I think of the many people I have met through my lifework over the years, so many faces come to mind of people who have learned somehow to persevere. I have also met many who had given up too and werent open to being pulled back into hope.

It is inspiring. Mark, I like how you have expressed it.....she is an example of living in spirit. It's a very visual concept to me for some reason.

Now, I'm wondering if individuals who live in spirit and who have learned to accept and live with their imperfections and pain are the most self actualized of us all??? hhmmmmm..........

will chew on that for a bit.....

Marja said...

Bless her. It's admirable when people like her find the strength and courage to accept live as it is and make the best of it.

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