Thursday, May 30, 2013


Adapt, Adaptable, Adabtability...these are three very lovely words.  They refer to the ability to face life in all it's possibilities for both good and bad, and keep going.  There are three other words that apply to this philosophy, IN SPITE OF.

Writing this blog I've come to understand that we all speak very different languages.  I'm not referring to the obvious, English, American, (they are two very different languages), Spanish, French...etc. etc. We all communicate in extremely different ways.  Verbal language, body language (those interesting hints and clues that we can see by watching someone else), and facial expression.

These different languages are also influenced for each person by their frame of reference.  (Where they grew up, what kind of parents they had, and were they raised by orangutans (parenthesis in parenthesis, sorry grammarians,  a phrase my husband used to use when he was teasing our daughters...hence suggesting that he and I WERE  Are they analytical, romantic, idealistic, what era did they grow up in, history shapes all of us....on, and on, and on.

It's not a surprise that we all have frequent misunderstandings and communication breakdowns.  It's rather amazing that we are ever able to communicate well at all!

I didn't even touch base on the different languages of gender.  (I know this is gender generalization but there IS a difference.  I was married to one of those MALE people.  I believe the book title IS right, "Men are from Mars, and women ARE from Venus." lol

I digress hugely from my initial topic.  Let's give you a hypothetical to think about.  You and your husband (or wife) have worked extremely hard to become financially solvent.  You have spent at least 5 or 6 years working together on education, raising small children, working at a demanding job (your spouse as well), and then the glorious day comes....One or both of you graduate.  Life gets smoother.  Instead of cramming, home, family, work, and education into each 24 hour period you now have some flexibility.  You can pay off some school debts, and buy something "fun" every once in a while.

AND THEN...just 2 years after you reach that incredible goal, your spouse has a stroke.  They are now unable to speak well, let alone work.  They are disabled.  You still keep working (the bills still need to be paid), and now you're juggling care for a very sick spouse, and care for your children.

AND THEN...4 months later YOU fall, messing up both of your knees and back.  Now YOU can't work either.  The bills pile up, the nasty creditors are calling day and night, AND discover that you have to file for bankruptcy...your children cry as they watch the beloved family van towed away (still owed too much on it to keep it, but how will you possibly get your family around now?)

Just wait, the fun doesn't stop here.  (Notice my sarcasm in the word FUN?)  You manage to pull yourself together enough to get a part-time job.  So now there is some money coming in but not nearly enough.  So, gratefully your family helps, your church group helps so that there IS food in the house.

You think, OK, we can figure this out, we'll get through it together...AND find out that you're pregnant.  (How is that even possible with all the craziness going on?  You've tried to be pregnant for years and NOW?)  The odd thing is that the pregnancy is a huge blessing.  AND THEN, the baby dies inside of you at 16 weeks.  You have heard his precious heartbeat, felt him moving within you, know that he lived, and was a part of your family...but now he's gone.

Oh wait, it keeps getting better, and better, right?  NOW, your husband is diagnosed with an incurable disease that is called "A medical enigma?" is destroying your husband's heart and lungs.

Ready to quit, lie down, give up, pull the covers over your face?  Oh we're not quite finished yet.  AND THEN, two years later you have to have surgery, and your own list of much ignored health problems grow too large to allow you to work.  (How do you work when you have a migraine 3 to 4 days a week, so bad that you have to go to the hospital to get medication to calm down the raging fires in your brain)?

Do you remember I said, "Hypothetical?"  Well I just may have been fudging a bit.  Actually I lived all of those things and more during that time.  Now here is the REALLY GOOD PART!  I lived all of that trauma and drama as the wife of Nyle Brent (Happy Not Crappy) Smith.  Somehow in the midst of all of that craziness he still managed to make each day an adventure, from his bed.  I'm not just talking survival here...the bare hanging on to the edge of life sort of living...I'm referring to THRIVING, in spite of, adapting to the difficulties of our circumstances of our life at that point.

From Nyle's bed he taught a men's group at church.  They would come over and Nyle would teach them, I repeat, from bed.  (Did I emphasis that a bit too much?)  He gave legal advice (mostly pro bono...he always wanted to help others, even when he needed the help even more).

Nyle would say to me on many occasions, "I can't wait for happiness.  It will not arrive at some magical time when life is smoother, and we don't have problems.  We have to be happy NOW, IN SPITE OF!" 

Our two adorable daughters would come home from school and run into the family room.  (We converted it into our bedroom when Nyle was bed bound.  It was larger, and had great windows).  They would cheerfully share with him the details of their school day.  They would fix a snack for both of them.  Nyle would help with their homework, or they would watch an educational show on TV, or they may have fallen asleep together, heads close together, reminding me how much of Nyle was in our daughters as their sweet, beloved faces were side by side.  Such a sweet, precious memory, IN SPITE OF!

I am very, very good at making a "Short Story Long," instead of the more usual other way around.  The last paragraph needs to summarize the rest of the post.  The points that I wished to make in my post were, It's important in life to be able to ADAPT, IN SPITE OF.  Today...this very minute look around...yes right now.

Well one more paragraph, apparently I wasn't really finished....PSYCH. lol.  Are the dishes piled high in the sink, the kids have dragged all the pans out of the cupboards and you haven't even showered yet?  Are you at work and you have two different bosses who like to play tug of war, each convinced that THEIR work is more important than the other person?  Are you sick, poor, or struggling with huge grief issues?  Try this simple exercise...take a very deep breath, in (slowly) out (slowly).  See how slowly you can do this.  Then forget about anything but right now.  Leave the worries of before in the past where they are.  Don't think even one minute ahead...just be safe and satisfied in this minute.  When you have a little time, actually when you MAKE a moment...count your blessings.  Oh they ARE there.  They may be camouflaged by life's hard lessons, but they are there.  Even if you have to tug hard from the weaving of life to pluck those blessings out, and claim them...even if the only blessing that you can think of is that you can breathe, without pain, wheezing, or coughing.  (Anybody with respiratory issues understands why that is a blessing).  REMEMBER, we humans are remarkably adaptable, in spite of.

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