by Bonnie Ross-Parker – CEO/Founder of Xperience Connections
No matter how we want our journey to unfold and knowing that our thoughts create our reality, we often find ourselves in circumstances we could not have imagined. Who hasn’t faced divorce – whether ours or someone we love? Who hasn’t faced death – intimately or beside someone with whom we share support? Who hasn’t faced illness? Who has faced all three of life’s setbacks?
When my 22 year marriage ended, when I lost my son 5 years ago & just shy of his 40th birthday or more recently took the long road to eliminate breast cancer, in each case I simply wasn’t prepared or certain I could handle the challenge. What is it about individuals who can maintain faith during the most trying times and what causes someone to give up? From my perspective, it comes down to belief. It is maintaining the belief that no matter what, there is a power, I call Divine Spirit, that provides a safety net when you feel yourself drowning. It’s trusting that light does illuminate darkness and that any tunnel has light at the end. It’s the belief that time heals and that what was once normal can return. It’s one step at a time, one day at a time and never giving up.
While I’ve always considered myself a compassion person, my unconditional caring for others’ circumstances became elevated because of what I’ve endured over the years. I understand the pain of divorce, death and illness because of the journey I’ve taken. I’ve come to respect that every individual handles their unique circumstances as best they can, with the resources available and over a time period that deserves no judgment. I’ve learned that life is to be valued, respected and appreciated. I’ve learned on any day, one’s journey can take a dramatic turn and what happens to us can only be handled by what we choose to do.
Calendar dates have a way of reminding us of joy and sorrow. We get to remember milestones because we’ve marked them on the calendar. We get to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries because we’ve noted them so as not to forget. Unfortunately, we can also choose to recall painful dates in the same way because we’ve chosen to acknowledge them. Any ‘anniversary’ is always about remembering what once was. The question anyone might consider is this. Are we also celebrating the strength we’ve developed during times of healing so we can enjoy the gift of life? Are we moving forward? Are we giving ourselves enough credit for enduring, surviving and thriving? Are we leading by example so others can engage their own strength guided by our own determination?
Please don’t get me wrong. Not once did I ever consider that any of my life’s challenges would be overcome easily. I have faced anger, fear and disbelief. I have faced the loss of faith, bitterness and the uncertainty of could I go on? I have also engaged courage. And, it’s the courage along with belief that have guided my healing. I’ve remarried (26+ years and very much in love!); I love my son more than ever and have complete admiration for the way he handled his illness. Cancer is no longer part of my reality. I endured chemo, had surgery and am now almost finished with radiation. That 8+ month journey is almost finished. Being in the ‘winner’s circle’ fills me with overflowing gratitude. (February 18th is on my calendar as the date I will always remember – cancer is GONE.)
Moments become minutes. Minutes produce hours. Hours create days. And, so it goes. The joy of being alive, the opportunities that one can seize and the relationships that endure are all cause for celebration. I hope I will always recognize that life does deserve our best and that setbacks can produce come backs. Of course, it takes courage. Yes, it requires faith. And, yes, one can engage a higher power, ie, Spirit, to provide the safety net to ensure you stay afloat. Life is worth living, no matter what challenges one faces. I know that. I hope you do as well