Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Slithers of gold.

This past week has, without a doubt, been the hardest seven days of my life.  Witnessing someone I love being stretched, twisted, torn and cracked by a situation that was merely a mistake, is the hardest thing to see.  I know, I know. I have never experienced a loved one pass away.  I have never seen the ruins of a war stricken town, or witnessed the effects of post traumatic stress. There are things we all struggle with, but among all of these tragedies the hardest part of it all is not the experience itself, but knowing that there is a limit to what you can do to help someone going through an excruciating stage of life.  This week has been terrible, but none of it has directly happened to me.  

Instead of writing about the horrible experience my best friend has endured this week, I need to focus on the tiny slithers of light that have come out of all of this.  I may not exude confidence and positivity, but through the depression and other personal struggles, I find myself still trying to sift through the silt and mud in order to find the almost microscopic and seemingly valueless slither of gold. There are two values of humanity that lately I have found difficult to identify with, but in this horrendous and life changing situation, I have found them to be true again.

1. The blessing of true friendship.

I don't want my close friends to think that in saying this I had forgotten their value in my life.  I hadn't. I just needed a reminder of the importance of a true friend in the healing process after any trauma. Whether it simply be a text message of support and love; a care package of basic essentials used in the grieving process; a two week survival plan; a shoulder to cry on; someone to get mad at the injustice; someone who will simply come and sit, watch terrible television, eat bad food and just BE there. You all know who you are and you have all played an incredible role in helping an amazing person.

2. Strength

A simple but poignant value of humanity.  It is in times of great adversity when we are able to surprise ourselves by the strength we have been storing for when it is truly needed.  When facing a situation as earth shattering as what my friend has endured, I'm not sure I would be as strong as her.  Yet when I tell her how proud I am for getting out of bed, planning what her next move will be and fighting for what she has left, she seems surprised. Why? Because we never truly realise our own strength until someone else recognises it. Maybe I would handle the situation as incredibly as she has. Or maybe I would break underneath it all. All I know is that at the beginning of this post, I specifically said she had been stretched, twisted, torn and cracked - but I never mentioned her breaking. She will heal.  She will recuperate.  She will never be the same, but I have no doubt that her spirit has become more resilient, her friendships solidified and her fight more powerful. 

The heartache and trauma is not yet over.  There will still be bad days.  Days of crying, of not wanting to get out of bed, of excessive amounts of icecream and bad movies just to pass the time.  And through all of this, one thing is certain: with supportive friendships and endurance, the days will get better. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Love is...

As a student I have mastered the art of procrastinating in many forms: baking sweet goods for my colleagues (I call it procrasti-baking); scrubbing my house from top to bottom (if I’m still being productive, then how can I feel bad about it?); making endless ‘to-do’ lists (again, a constructive use of time… right?); and the worst of them all, social-media stalking. 

This would generally be the process:
  1. Refresh Facebook feed. Complain about nothing interesting EVER happening anymore (but did it ever?).
  2. Scroll down Instagram feed. Complain about everyone posting their photos on both Facebook and Instagram, so I’ve seen it all before (of which I am guilty).
  3.  Maybe, just maybe, something interesting is happening on Twitter (said no one ever).
  4. Repeat.

And then occasionally, a glimmer of light. Through all of the videos of cats trying to fit themselves into tiny spaces, through all of the people complaining about their children in one post (only to rave about how much they love being a mother in the next), through all of the gym junkies posting selfies of their ‘progress’ (although, really, a different angle of the same bicep only shows that you’re a tad narcissistic, not that you’ve developed a mass of muscle in the last 48 hours), occasionally, something worthwhile pops up.

Take this video for an example: A homeless man in Germany being blessed by a random act of kindness.

Or the following link, showing the wonder of nature in a world so corrupted by man-made pollution and structure.

And yesterday, I stumbled upon something that really made me question how often I look at my life and can truly say the things I appreciate. Not the big and blatantly obvious elements of life that do often get overlooked (supportive friends and family, health, roof over head, etc), but the little, seemingly inanimate objects or situations, that may provide a small glimmer of happiness on a dull day.

So with that, I get to the point of this post: here, I write a list of small things that emanate love to me. It is not a complete list, and it does not define my happiness.  In such a dull time, I have decided this morning to remember what I love about life.

Love is the feeling of chills when hearing a brilliant song for the first time. 
Love is the gentle warming of frozen extremities. 
Love is waking on a cold winter morning, toasty under multiple blankets. 
Love is the gentle waft of that perfect coffee aroma. 
Love is surprise mail from an old friend. 
Love is a gentle chirp of happiness from the purring cat curled at my feet. 
Love is reading a passage that seems to have been written just for me. 
Love is walking through nature and breathing in fresh air. 
Love is watching a film that exceeds expectations. 
Love is reliving a memory that had almost been lost. 
Love is clean-shaved legs on freshly laundered sheets. 
Love is falling in love with a piece of art that affects me without reason. 
Love is the gentle glow of fairy lights in a dark room. 
Love is sitting down to a hot meal with a loved one. 
Love is baking the perfect cupcakes. 
Love is the creation of something I can be proud of. 
Love is an empty notebook. 
Love is knowing there is more than now.