Plans we make and dreams we imagine don’t always turn out as hoped. In times such as this, one can become despondent and sad. Years of physical pain combined with maturity and age have led me to embrace resilience amidst adversity, leaving a mark on my heart in the shape of a cross. Older, wiser and bit tattered around the edges, I now envelop lost plans and dreams as opportunities to welcome new journeys which may bring unexpected joy.
In one of my favorite books, The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas shared “Life is a storm. One minute you will bathe under the sun and the next you will be shattered upon the rocks.” Standing alone, this quote makes me shudder. In the context of a well lived and grounded life with God at the center, these words speak truth. Like the unpredictability of weather, our lives follow a pattern of natural highs and lows. One moment we find ourselves literally “bathing under the sun” and then next we are trudging through a thunderstorm without any gear to protect us. Regardless of our state in life, we are never truly alone to battle the storms. When we give thanks to God during the sunny moments, He surely stands with us during the stormy ones. Regardless, He never leaves our side, even when we turn away from Him. At those moments, He just waits until we are ready and turn back to Him.
Storms come in all sizes and small disappointments can often knock us off our feet. Despite my current plight with chronic pain, I’ve sought to live as normally as possible and give thanks for the many blessings in my life. But, as expected, there are days which challenge my resolve. I am currently a patient at a Pain Management Center and my care is now managed by a group of healthcare professionals who have studied my surgical history and recommended a plan for optimal living. I was looking forward to the new medication they prescribed as it would have leveled out the ups and downs of my back pain in a more effective manner. I learned this week that this pain medication has been denied by an”expert” at the insurance company. Of course I was frustrated and annoyed but then I thought about it. I have a choice to sulk and be angry or I could look at this denial as a message that perhaps there is a better pain medication out there, waiting to be discovered. I prefer to choose the latter.
“The prescription your physician requested is not eligible for coverage under your prescription drug plan..” – United Healthcare
We rise in the manner in which we are open to learning from others. I could not have come to an enlightened level of thinking without first learning it from someone else. My mom faced many storms in her life, none greater than her battle with stage 4 cancer. As someone who truly loved the sun, she sought to do all in her power to live in the light. God was her compass and resided in the deepest part of her soul. United with Him, she was able to turn her face toward the sun, even during the darkest storms. I recall one night toward the end of her disease when she turned to me and whispered “I just wanted to see my grandchildren grow up.” Through tears I responded, “You will mom…you will.” In those moments, mom was not concerned with her pain rather she was centered on her beloved grandchildren, the offspring of her dear children – the people who meant the most to her in the world, including her precious Joey. Mom lived through the storms, was occasionally knocked down by them, but always got up and never looked back. With God by her side, she could permanently reside in the sun. Others knew it and were drawn to her for inspiration and love.
I realize that we all face many challenges each day. These storms can certainly knock us upon the rocks and drag us down until we feel defeated. But the cross was not the end of the story…Christ’s light shines bright for all to see through the power of His resurrection. Turn your face toward the sun, there you will find Him, who is all goodness, hope, and love. There you will find the strength to ascend toward the light.