Each day demands that we show up with courage and humility, for it may start off well and end up in a completely different place. One that we could not even have imagined and we may have little control over how that happens. Even my own day today started in a particular way and then, given a decision I made, ended in quite another. But that was my choice, even as I struggle with its consequences and impacts the clarity of my writing tonight. Often, though, how our day unfolds is not in our control.
One of my little patients’ mothers called me this morning. “I need your advice again doc,” she said. I thought it was about her little boy, who had been struggling with gastro these past few days, was bed bound with end stage bone cancer at home. But no! It was her husband. They had been to see the doctor yesterday and what had been a dreadful fear at the back of his mind has indeed become his reality. Fear had delayed him going to the doctor. But this week he had reluctantly gone, and was told yesterday that what was going on in his brain was most certainly a brain tumour. No control over this, just courage and humility, to face this very moment of reality, breaking open upon itself.
Courage and humility. And the capacity to know how to effect this in one’s life. This young mother, for me, embodies the qualities of Hardiness as described by Suzanne Kobasa many years ago. One of my favorite set of resilience attitudes. The capacity to face whatever arises with strength, grace and equanimity. The attitudes and qualities of control, commitment, and challenge. Control being about an internal sense of control. The ability to discriminate between what can and can’t be controlled. About making decisions with conviction, no matter how small or large. Commitment speaks to the meaning and purpose in our lives. To being fully involved in what ever it is that we choose to do each and every day. Challenge, the capacity to meet life’s inevitable demands and changing landscape with flexibility and determination that allows development and growth not just immobile problems.
My own sense is that all of this is necessarily held within a container of community and connection. Within a strong sense of self as a participant of life through the many differing manifestations of self that support our complex natures and varying needs. A strong sense of self that allows us to be known, assisted, and supported in many forms and that in this that we don’t isolate ourselves from the experience of life itself. This is what I see and know with this little family. That despite all their challenges, they have mobilised their community behind them to care for them, to love them, to fund raise for them, and to be there for every moment of need. Including their doc! So tomorrow I will be there again. Checking up on my little charge laid up still in bed. As well as walking with them through this new challenge and mobilising all our resources, love, and care, to deal with this hurdle too.
How is it that you choose your path today with your own necessary resilience attitudes of control, commitment, and challenge? Even if your worst fear is true. And what community do you have around you to support and love you in this? And how do you offer this back in service to those around you in turn? Remember, we all walk this road of life together and are all connected through our universality of being human, no matter how alone in this at times we may feel.