Sometimes, maybe a lot of times, we need to remember, or at least ponder, what this whole experience of life is supposed to be about. We hear it all the time; it’s about love. It’s about helping one another. It’s about lifting each other up when we’ve been pushed down by experiences too heavy to carry on our own.
Living this mindset to any great degree didn’t happen overnight for me nor did it come easy. My middle name is Macadamia, (look it up). It took a number of jarring incidents to make me stop and assess where I was heading and how. We call those incidents philosophical bricks.
Philosophical, schmilosophical – the solid OUCH of those bricks served to open my abilities to care beyond my immediate family needs and the occasional charity event. One clunker that demanded attention is a chronic health condition. When I’ve had to deal with acute phases of it or any other life crises, (I’m really good at getting those), I’ve had the honor of being taught time and time again how living up to life is actually demonstrated. As it turned out, it’s really not as hard as I once might have resentfully imagined.
Those who know me would likely say I’m a strong person. I know I am. If you haven’t been defeated by life’s bricks and kicks, you likely are, but there have been times when I’d been so far down, I’d have sworn I was at the end and I was good with that. Relieved even.
I wish I could say I pulled myself out of those periods of desolation by the straps of self-determination, but the truth is, the ball to real self-help really couldn’t have started rolling if I hadn’t first been shown the path via the hearts of my near and dear.
They weren’t the surgeons or psychologists or ministers. They were the friends who came to me to talk, listen, and hold my hand while I cried. They shared their wisdom and their resources to nurse and support the basics of life.
At the worst of times, they managed to break through despair that was blocking my will to fight any more. They showed me how to breathe once again through those debilitating trials. They worked with great and gentle care to help me feel seen and heard.
Those acts of simple and generous kindnesses were teaching me how to be a better human being, even as I felt incapable of even existing. In the most exquisite and genuine ways, I learned how to act when life grabs a tight hold and demands immediate action for survival.
Compassion changes so many levels of pain. It infuses you with honest empathy. It changed me in ways that I hope never gets unchanged. They showed me how to get up and say, yes I can.
Yes, I can get through this day, pain, event. Yes, I can take time to tell someone I’m thinking of them. Yes, I can listen, yes I can cook a (barely edible) casserole for someone who can’t. Yes, I can give a few dollars, even if it feels like I can’t afford to, yes I can help. I can do all the things done for me and more. Yes, I can.
My ‘Yes, I Can’ mantra graduated to ‘Because I Can’. For me ‘Yes, I can’ and ‘because I can’ means I am alive. I may be limited in talent or immediate resources, but I’m not limited in possibilities to demonstrate care.
It’s my sincere desire, maybe even an obligation, to live up to the promise, the truest meaning of life as so ably demonstrated by those loved ones I call heroes. ‘Yes, I can’ is more than a trite statement or a campaign slogan, it’s a way of life.
It’s not about becoming a saint or a world leader to do something that changes the world. You don’t even have to be a ‘good person’; if someone needs a hand, help them. I’ll bet you’ll end up pretty happy too, and if not, then please be reasonable enough to settle for content. There are plenty of days in a life well-lived when that is more than enough.