Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Presumption Of Excellence

My husband and I were sitting at the coffee shop on the patio with Yorkie & Porkie last weekend when a man with his 3 children came wheeling by. He was a pleasant looking individual I presumed to be in his late 40's, early 50's. The children were darling and seemed to be around 6, 4 and one in a stroller. I thought to myself how nice this picture of healthy and normal Americana looked. I imagined mom was at home resting and her dutiful husband had taken the children off her hands for the morning so she could have some much needed "me" time. Boy was I ever wrong! Mama walked out of the coffee shop and when she joined up with them I was quite surprised. She was young and hot! Looked my age (mid-thirties) or younger with a PHENOMENAL body clothed in skin-tight yoga gear with a caboose that would not quit! I looked at my husband and said "Boy, I sure did not expect that one!" He agreed and stated that was a woman that takes good care of herself. When I commented on her perfectly round derriere he interjected that she works hard for that body. We both wandered off into dreamland for a few seconds, imagining and coveting the perfect and privileged life this family had as they piled into their Porsche Cayenne. It was all so normal, so picturesque, so enviable. I dreamed up a charmed life of no money problems and no health problems and, well, no me problems. I caught the wistful look on my husbands face and we agreed they looked like they had the life most would beg, borrow or steal to have.

Now I know I was presuming A LOT and I am sure they have plenty of their own issues, but the irony of appearances was not lost on me. Life chronically ill is hard! It is complicated with a whole slew of issues and disappointments and struggles others do not understand. I sure did not understand before I became one of the chosen few... I thought my life was difficult before, but in blessed retrospect reflect back on the years before I got sick with so much romance and optimism its hard to remember I was unhappy and depressed and struggled with an entirely different set of complexities in my life. They just seem so trivial now. Oh if I knew then what I know now... But there is something that comes from struggling in life that gives it a meaning you just can't get anywhere else. There is something that forms deep in your soul when you fight a giant invisible monster and prevail! There is a depth of spirit that manifests itself deep within you and breeds a strength of character, a sense of self, a cause of purpose.

I am still fighting for that bubble-gum life. A life of rainbows and unicorns and happily ever after... I don't want anymore pain, in my body or in my soul. I want nice. I want pleasant. I want EASY! I don't want to struggle and have issues and grief. I want them all to just go away, to have never existed! That is the girl in me. The woman in me knows that with that would also go the knowledge in my head, the compassion in my heart and the drive and determination in my soul. So I must strike a balance. Strive for health and freedom from illness but also remember what I have been through so as to help others guide their way out of the darkness. Keep my perspective so the bad days don't take me down any further than they have to and the good days can far outweigh them. Take ALL that I have been given in life and use it for good, to further a purpose, to define a cause. So while I may look at those 5 souls and assume life is charmed and easy for them, there is no guarantee someone is not looking at me with my darling puppies and handsome husband and assuming the exact same thing about my life. We all do the best we can with what we are given. For when life throws lemons at you, grab a bottle of tequila and whip up some margaritas!

Thanks for joining,


  1. Oh, how I struggle with this one too. And I try to remain positive and remember my blessings, but when you see people who are able to work hard on keeping in shape, well, I start havin' a little pity party. I want to work out- to run- to do an hour and a half of yoga! But sometimes I just have to settle for a walk around the block or one yoga pose. And then I feel good because I'm moving, and I forget all about my envy. One day at a time for us:)

  2. These thoughts and feelings, I'm sure they're universal. I'm Danish, and I feel like you, watching a bubblegum-family like the one you described here.
    There is always more than meets the eye... that is especially true for people with cronic illnesses. We try to live lives as normal as possible.. but they can never be just that..

  3. This was an excellent article, Leah. So true, so true.

    We all wish for that normal life everyone else around us seems to have and it takes us a long time to accept that our life is different. I struggled for years to reach acceptance.

    I like your image of others looking at you and your husband and thinking you were leading a charmed life......we don't know what problems lie behind other's smiling faces with the perfect bodies.

    You have reached wisdom beyond your years. Thank you for leading us all on your path to healing.

  4. One of our greatest challenges is to not judge. We get so angry when others do it to us...but I am no angel myself!