Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Human Spirit

Some would say that I am inspirational. Some would call me strong willed. Some would say I'm courageous. I would merely explain that this is the only life I know. I truthfully don't understand what a life without chronic pain is like. My existence is so interwoven with pain that I don't know how to separate one from the other. I've experienced pain and strange symptoms since childhood; so I can't imagine the freedom of living without them. My pain and my symptoms are my constant companions in this life. I deal with them on a daily basis and they have become commonplace. Therefore, I would ask you not to look upon me as some pillar of strength. I am just an average girl trying to find happiness in a complicated world. 

I would ask you to look at others and see the inspiration they bring. After all, they don't know pain as a daily way of life. They were just average people trying to make their way in this world when life dropped this huge life altering bomb in their lap. One of them is an Oklahoma City Murrah bombing survivor. He was going about his daily life when Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb which left metal shrapnel permanently stuck in his head. Another is a Hurricane Katrina survivor who lived through some harrowing experiences which has left her battling depression, panic attacks and other related conditions. A teacher and a student survived the Moore tornado inside of Plaza Towers Elementary but struggle with the haunting nightmares caused by the wrath of nature. Another woman, my Mom actually, is a breast cancer and double open heart surgery survivor who lost an infant son while stationed overseas with my Dad.  For these people there was a defining moment that stripped away everything they trusted in life. These people are heroes. These people are pillars of strength. I've seen all of these people continue to smile and enjoy the beauty that life still offers. It renews my faith that the human spirit is more resilient than we can imagine.  

What is it within some that causes them to stand defiantly when others would drop to their knees in despair? What is it that a person possesses that causes them to rise up again when life has sucked the very breath from their lungs? On the other hand, why is it that some seem to enjoy floundering? I know so many who have overcome such great odds and are embracing the beauty in everything they find. I also know many who seem to embrace their self imposed role as victim. Since the dawn of time man has struggled; so it's not that adversity is something new to the human race. So what is the defining factor that moves a person from victim to victor? I say it's the ability to look inside of ourselves. Those that have the courage to peel away all the layers of ego, false bravado, intellect, fear, pride and self righteousness are the ones that embody the strength of the human spirit. Those that are too afraid to look within themselves will never become accountable for their own path in this life. When you can't look deeply within your own psyche you will never be able to rise against any misfortune that may befall you. The most harrowing journey that one can ever take is the one that leaves their soul bare. You have to face yourself ripped open from the inside, raw, naked and afraid before you can ever learn the depth and breadth of your character. If you are too afraid of what you will find then life will drag you through your entire existence. 

We must face our darkest truths and see them for the strengths that they are. Only then will we be able to call ourselves victors. You see, there are no negative character traits. Society has tried to impose good and bad upon us; but, the truth is that there are good and bad uses of all characteristics. Chances are if you are using your traits for the wrong reasons then you are going to have a hard time looking into the mirror and seeing yourself as honestly as others see you. Selfishness is the greatest cause for fear when we are looking into our own psyche. Once we own our selfishness then the other traits become a little clearer and the human spirit begins to shine through. That's the biggest opponent we will face on our journey within, selfishness. I've faced my selfishness and he no longer holds me in fear of myself. I hope that you can say the same; because only then will you be free to embrace all the glory and all the pain that we experience in this life.