“It is during our darkest moments
that we must focus to see the light.”~Aristotle Onassis.
I once met a young woman who was too perky. No matter the time of day, or the circumstances she was upbeat and chipper for no reason. So annoying! It wasn’t until I got to know her better that I discovered that she was genuine, a person who saw the joy in everyday moments. And she was a person who had faced adversity. She had lost her mother when she was young, yet managed to be positive. You looked forward to seeing her, because she entered a room smiling and telling jokes. When we put her on the night shift it did dampen her down a bit! Sleep deprivation will do that to you!
We often jump to conclusions about people, yet even those we think we know may have a back story that would shock us, would change the way we see them. Most of the time we only see a part of a person, or only see them in one context. If by chance we see them in another situation, or get to hear about them from a different perspective, we are amazed.
In our magnificent complexity there are many facets to our being, some we may not even have discovered ourselves! When last did you challenge yourself to do something you had never tried before? I watched a video of some adventurous people recently. There is a beautiful spot in Jamaica known as Reach Falls. Apart from the waterfalls there are caves in the area. The video showed some adventurers descending into a narrow vertical cave; the entrance was at ground level. The cave connected with a pool, but they had to be pulled through a curtain of water which crashed over the exit. To leave the pool, the adventurers had to dive under water, through another cave to emerge in the river. I watched in fascination, seeing bodies appear then disappear, then reappear safely, always fearful that one would be lost! There were guides on hand, but it still seemed perilous! I find myself wondering if I could possibly be brave enough to attempt the adventure myself!
But there may be everyday acts which require just as much bravery and courage. For those who face health challenges, simple acts which were once accomplished automatically may have become mountains to be climbed. And although the peak appears to be far distant, it can only be attained one step at a time. And at those moments, the focus has to be on accomplishing each step.
There is a role in life for that bright spark, that annoyingly perky person who insists that you can do that which you deem impossible. Most women who have been through childbirth can clearly remember the point at which they wanted to give up and go home. Forget the baby, I just want the pain to stop, get me out of here! And (hopefully) there would be in that room a still small voice, coaching and keeping you calm, pulling you back to the task at hand, reminding you that you could do it. If you were lucky, it was your partner, your spouse or significant other who played that role. Although he may have risked life and limb if he got too close to you in mid-contraction! We recently have adopted a European tradition, the Doula, a woman who supports the mother through childbirth and after, being calm, supportive and reassuring.
But it is not only in childbirth that we need a Doula. The teacher has to be part Doula, part challenger. Nursing students in particular seem to see every challenge, each test as the end of the world, the biggest hurdle they have ever had to handle. And although it may be tempting to use cold water (or some other shocking action!) to bring someone out of their hysterical anxiety attack, we have to demonstrate the therapeutic approach. A large part of teaching and nursing is helping someone to see the strength that we know they have, to help them to recognize that they have the tools necessary to achieve their goals, coaching them through to the finish line.
I have recently been blessed to meet up with a few nurses who were once my students. To see these competent, confident, caring professionals at work is a source of joy and pride. To know that you may have inspired a spark that will continue to brighten the lives of others is humbling, and helps to keep you focused on the less encouraging days.
On this Friday morning I hope you will find a spark to inspire you when things seem dark, but more than that, I hope you will find the strength to be the spark that starts a fire blazing, and burns to help others through a dark time. Maya Angelou once wrote: “Be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Even when we think we are under the weather, there may be someone close by who is experiencing a deluge.
Have a wonderful weekend Family! For those in the South Florida area, please join us at Waterfalls Restaurant and Lounge in Tamarac tomorrow night (Saturday April 16) so we can celebrate life in our own Jamaican way!