Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Just Leave Me Alone!

When life’s circumstances seem to trap you, squeezing you in their grip, applying increasing pressure and demanding a response to questions that are bombarding your universe like incoming meteors, everything gets messy.
We feel out of control (as if we ever were). Death, disease, disability, discouragement, depression, disorientation or disaster - and these are just the things that start with the D - threaten our daily existence. We find ourselves scrambling for cover, digging a foxhole, curling up in a ball, or hiding our eyes to shut out the fear, the pain, the inevitability.

“Just leave me alone!”, we shout to no one and nothing in particular. Can’t we just make it all go away? Can’t we just fix it?

The answer is “No”. We might be able to deny the situations we face for a while. Difficulties might be delayed somewhat. But ultimately, we must deal with the tough stuff, face our fears, fight back, accept suffering and sacrifice as necessary, or at least inescapable, parts of living.

Lately, too many friends are being confronted by the harshest of realities; difficulties from divorce to dying, and a veritable invasion of other sad events. Sometimes, like missiles, these struggles come in clusters, as if the destruction caused by one is not enough.

When it all seems too much, too hard, where do we turn? The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, "We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them".  But let me add, doing life alone, especially in the crucible when heat and pressure so easily overwhelm, is not the answer.

We are designed for interdependence, relationship, community. We cannot hope to prevail on our own. We need to share the burdens, the pain and the tragedy, especially when they don’t make sense. We need the freedom to ask” Why”, while knowing that there is no obvious answer. We need caring listeners to be our mirror. We need allies to help us fight back, maintain the hope regardless of the odds. But in the process we must risk being misunderstood, rejected, and disappointed by others. After all, we are far from perfect ourselves.

Image result for world parkinson's congress japanP.S.  While drafting this post I felt alone. I had planned to be attending the World Parkinson's Congress in Japan next week.  I was looking forward to being there mostly to spend time together with friends from around the world who are part of Parkinson's disease community. Unfortunately, I will not be there.  Maybe 2022?  In the meantime, let's stand together. As Michael J Fox said,“We may each have our own individual Parkinson’s, but we all share one thing in common. Hope”

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