What Goes Down, Must Go Up

BEING WILLING TO TAKE A CHANCE

If we accept a challenge and take steps to accomplish something, the process will yield results—either success or failure. When you sow a seed or plant a tree, either the seed will germinate, the tree will grow, or it will die. Similarly, trust means that we know that our actions will bring a definite response from reality. We know that we will get a message. Trust, then, is being willing to take a chance, knowing that what goes up must come down, as they say.

Excerpted from:
“Unconditional Fearlessness,” in
Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery,
pages 69–70

Chance, change, accomplishment, success, failure – what will you get if you accept a challenge, if you decide to do something, something that scares you or makes you nervous? What will you get it you don’t do anything?

Life is full of challenges. Some go from day to day, never thinking about what they’re doing, just going through the motions of living. Getting up, going to work, coming home, getting the paycheck, spending it. It can get monotonous quickly. Not surprising that most deaths from heart attacks occur on Monday mornings, when the time comes to go back to a job you either dislike or actively hate. I’ve had a few of those jobs, one in particular since I’ve been in Maine. I would get to work in the morning, every morning, and I would be sweating so much my hair was wet. Then I would need a trip to the bathroom a half hour after I started taking calls from angry cell phone customers. My supervisor would call and ask me where I was and why I wasn’t at my desk. It was humiliating. I was humiliated by the treatment I received from the customers and by management. I was an older worker, in my late 50s while the bosses were in their 20s and 30s. They were merciless to anyone over 40.

One day I had had enough. I received a phone call at 5:00 on a night when I needed to pick up my sick husband’s medication, go home and cook dinner. When I asked how I might help the customer – he said and I will never forget this – you can tell me why the fuck my bill is so high. Sigh. I wasn’t in the mood for this ass, truly. I was sick to death of being screamed at for the day.

The next day I was told that I would be “disciplined” by Human Resources. I took that to mean that I would be fired. I said cool, I was sent home but told to return on Tuesday to hear my fate. I decided my own fate. I quit.

I took that challenge, how to live without my income and I ran with it. I didn’t care any longer that I was the one who had to worry about buying food or paying the bills. The bills meant nothing to me, but my sanity did. I quickly got another job, albeit temporary working the phones for L.L. Bean during the holiday season. It was a relief to not have angry customers for a change.

My biggest challenge began when my husband kept getting sicker and sicker. We went to a neuro-psychologist and he was tested. He had lost almost all his reasoning ability. This was a man who programmed microcomputers and robots, who invented a way to protect expensive machinery, who was totally self-taught.

I was thrown into the job of caregiver. I could no longer work because I couldn’t leave him alone during the day. The cost of day care for him was more than what I earned. I stayed home. We had little money but we sort of made it. I was inventive when it came to food. We had food most of the time. Just once I remember being totally out of food and having to go to a food bank. I didn’t like that. I made up my mind that no matter what happened, I would buy our food. Even if it was rice and ramen noodles, I would buy the food.

I took the challenge. I would care for my husband at home as long as possible. That possible ended in June of 2013, with his inability to walk without falling, with him crawling up the stairs to go to bed. That was enough.

The whole process from going to challenge to challenge, never enjoying a moment’s peace lasted from 2000 until 2014, and ended with my husband’s death. I was shocked, saddened and experienced a grief I hadn’t known I would experience since he was so ill for so long. And then, in 2015 I started to come out of it. I looked around. I told my son I wanted to dye fabric again, I wanted to quilt again, both things that made me happy.

I started knitting in 2012 when I was at home with my sick husband because I needed something to do while I sat with him, watching over him. In 2015 I started learning more complex patterns, difficult stitches.

By January of 2016 I had my life back. The life I’d lived for 48 years – the one I had before all hell broke loose. I was back.

And I’m still back. I haven’t experienced a bout of depression in over a year. I don’t feel helpless. I feel strong and vital and blessed every day. I can do things, I can do what I want. I still have challenges, but they are temporary. They won’t last for 15 years. They last a week, a month at most. I get on with it.

I know that my faith makes all things possible. I am not afraid. I have supreme trust in the Infinite Consciousness. I am in the real reality, not the world-confusion that most take as reality. The world-confusion is just that, confused. I am not. I am safe, loved and in my spiritual home.

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