Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
Love Is a Choice
How do you feel when someone you know well or even a stranger does an act of kindness for you? It feels pretty incredible, right? How about if we think very briefly about the folks that have not behaved in a supportive manner? What does it feel like to be there to witness someone doing the next right thing? How about that feeling of being present during another person’s choice to not do the next right thing?
Here’s the thing…people have free will. The decision resides within each of us daily as to whether we will choose “the next right thing” or something lesser. It sure feels amazing when we ourselves choose the “right thing” no matter how difficult that may be.
It is disappointing when we are at the end of either an interchange or behavior that is a consequence of another person’s choice to not engage in “the next right thing” behavior or action. When we find ourselves in these situations, what do we choose to do? There are oodles of choices. One choice is to ask questions in an effort to understand why this is happening. Once we have an understanding, the next choice is what we do “with” the situation. Do we choose to communicate to the other person that what they have said or done has been hurtful to us or do we choose to let it be? Regardless of the choice that we each make, there is one thing for sure & that is no matter what, I know that I have the choice to continue to love the person even if I do not agree with the behavior.
In life, we cannot always choose what happens to us. That is something that all our human family shares in common. There are going to be times in life where trials & struggles happen during certain chapters of our lives. If we have diabetes or another “365” health challenge then we have an additional load to bare. We have good health days & then not so good health days. Then there is the added challenge of juggling other challenges on top of that. Just because another challenge is happening to us, we don’t get to set the diabetes or other health struggle aside to deal with something else. That is the reality. The great news is that we always have the choice over our spirit, our thoughts & what we want to do “with” the struggle of either diabetes, another health struggle or additional struggles.
Here’s my realistic optimist at work. When it comes to diabetes or another 365 health challenge, there are people in our lives that knew us before the health challenge. My heart’s belief is that the incredible majority of family & friends in our lives that knew us before our health challenge will try their best to support us. Okay, Saundie, that’s great, you may say yet how about if we talk realistically for a few moments about our shared experiences of the folks that don’t support us on our journey with diabetes or another health struggle? We may ask ourselves, “what’s that all about?” Or, we may say, “why would some people choose to abandon us in a time we need them even more?” Stay with me here…you know I insist on a happy middle & ending…there will be one!
Over the past 5 years with diabetes, I have found that there have been some “bumps” along the way. Each person’s “bumps” will be as individual as the person is himself or herself. Let me share with you that if you have felt misunderstood or unsupported along your journey at times, you are not alone. It is an awful feeling to say the least. Unfortunately, 2 families that knew me before diabetes & upon diagnosis did make the choice to be unsupportive…one by abandoning our family & the other family by choosing to elect to sometimes abandon & other times attack. There are times when strangers may choose to say some of the strangest things you may have noticed too. They may be times when a derogatory statement is made about having diabetes or another health challenge. To all of these things, I say passionately, there is no place for that behavior on my battle buddy team! The great news is that we get to choose who goes onto our battle buddy team just like any great team gets to choose its members. The best news is that I also get to choose a few more things: first, I get to choose what to let linger in my mind & heart about different interchanges, what I am going to do about a situation & what I am going to do with a situation.
The everyday heroes that are on my battle buddy team are beautiful, spirited, kind people. Just like you, I get to choose who goes onto the team. And we also get to choose what a battle buddy looks like on the inside. I would love to share several stories that honour many battle buddies of mine. Over time, it is my heart’s plan to honour each & every single battle buddy.
Many years ago & long before diabetes, I got quite sick while in first year university. I had to go into the hospital for a short time & then recover at home with my Mom & Dad. First of all, my Mom & Dad drove down to the university to pick me up in record time. This was not to be the last time by any means that my Mom & Dad have driven nearly 3 hours in any direction to help in a heart beat. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my parents “found themselves in our neighborhood” & had driven down to our home & began to set to work helping for a few days to look after our 3 very young sons. My Dad is positive & inspiring & has a cool sense of humour & he is the first one to help in the community. My Mom is one of the hardest working people I know. She is a get right in there with your sleeves rolled up kind of person. She helps all the time in the community & in the family with no fanfare & she is deeply kind. My parents are unsung heroes. That is a snapshot of my parents’ loving hearts. Back to the story about getting ill during first year university. While I recovered at home during the Christmas break, my spirits had lowered with the illness initially. On the scene came my youngest uncle (3 years older than I am), Rob. He was right over & brought over his stereo & a huge assortment of music. That lit my heart so much. That act of kindness stayed with me. I hope you have a “cool Uncle” too!
Let me share my cousin, Lindy & my Aunt Saun with you for a few minutes too. My cousin is a sister to me. We have “roots” & are friends of the heart. She is kind & I get to be myself with her. We share the hugest laughs & share an eccentric sense of humour that we both “get.” She is spiritual & inspirational & I love her profoundly. Lindy’s Mom, my Dear Heart, Aunt Saun is a light in this world. I could not be more proud to be named after her. She is a lady who has always & continues to do incredible works & acts of kindness within the small community that I grew up in. My Aunt stands up for what is right & she tirelessly gives of herself to our family & to the community. The first year that I had diabetes, it was just a few weeks before Christmas. That first Christmas with diabetes was rough. Somehow, my Aunt has always had that heart’s connection even 100 miles away. The phone rang Christmas morning & it was my Aunt with encouraging & loving words, unrushed & went into my heart profoundly. How cool is it that every single “gift” that I have mentioned cannot be purchased from a store…that is love.
There are many, many friends & family members that I look forward to sharing with you in the New Year. I hope that the acts of kindness that these battle buddies that I am describing remind you of spectacular folks within your circle of family & friends. Here’s the other thing, & that is that we are always adding to our community of battle buddies. Life is funny, the little acts of kindness may seem fleeting yet they are not. It turns out that the so called little acts of kindness are the love that is poured into our cups…our hearts.
We get to choose what we let our hearts & minds linger upon. How about lingering upon the blessings that our battle buddies are to us. We get to be grateful for the loved ones that were there for us before diabetes or other health struggles & the new battle buddies & loved ones who have joined our “team.” As an aside, the folks who have chosen to behave in unsupportive ways…well, I made a decision a long time ago to forgive them & love anyhow. The best news is that I choose to focus on the “365” team of battle buddies who are the unsung every day heroes.
May you too choose to focus on the love you have for your “365” team. We are in this community together so we are each on one another’s team so thank you for you too!