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One Tired "Bear" Climbing Each Mountain

23/12/2013 08:26

Does it seem like it has been one long, continuous full month during the months of November & December so far?  Maybe you can relate to times when out of nowhere life becomes one climb uphill after the other. 

On November 27th, I sat down & wrote a blog sharing that I will post in the New Year.  I tend to write a few sharings ahead of time.  The title of that blog is, “Either a Prison or a Beautiful Haven.”  That day I had 3 profound giant heroes on my mind as I wrote.  Each of these heroes were imprisoned & they did something world changing.  One of the gentlemen that I wrote briefly about that day was Nelson Mandela.  It was unbelievable that the following week this giant hero would complete his journey on earth. 

Every morning I receive a “Sunrise Inspiration” quote in my email inbox with a quote from wise people.  Some of these people are with us still & others have completed their earthly journey.  This morning, I was feeling especially restless & went ahead & got up over an hour earlier than needed.  It has been quite the year with the uphill climbs as I mentioned & yesterday yet another mountain emerged that deeply troubles this Mom.  As I came downstairs, my automatic action was to turn on my cell & have a wee look at the “Sunrise Inspiration” quote for today.  Today, the quote is from Nelson Mandela.  He had so many profoundly wise quotes that he has shared with the world.  Today’s is, “after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”  That quote lit me up with much needed strength this morning.  Although I don’t know the context that Nelson Mandela was sharing his words within, the words spoke to my heart very deeply.  It reminded me that we must never give up & must stand for what is right even & especially in adversity.  It is not meant to be easy.  I doubt that most of us set out to complicate our lives yet at times our lives get messy.  We must grow bigger than our mountains in strength I believe.  And I was reminded of a saying that a mentor shared with me over 10 years ago of “you have to choose the hills to die on.”  She went on to explain that there will always be challenges & things that are not just or good in the world yet we cannot feasibly fight every single battle but instead must choose the “hills to die on” or the battles worth our passion & effort in fighting.  Do I believe that most parents would choose “the hill” of standing behind, or in front of his or her children if they were being tormented emotionally or physically or both?  You bet I do!  Do I see our sons through rose coloured glasses?  No definitely not.  Are they held to principles & values consistent with what our family is all about?  Yes, big time, yes!  For folks who know me well they would laugh to think of me as anything approaching a “hot head.”  I am by nature an optimistic peacekeeper.  When someone who is by nature a positive person who tries to lend a hand appears in a situation where they are all geared up for a battle would that tend to send off an alarm that something very wrong is happening?  I hope so. 

Type 1 diabetes wise I have found myself climbing mountain after mountain & most especially in November & December.  There have been other months in 2013 that have been uphill climbs as well.  Every single uphill climb with the challenges of type 1 lately have left me more determined than ever to conquer each next mountain with dignity, and big time strength.  We certainly have times when we are physically tired & downright exhausted from type 1 or any other “365” challenge yet when we think about our spiritual determination, what do we notice?  These diabetes mountains this year leave me stronger spiritually & I hope intellectually as this year closes.  What I have found especially surprising is just how this strength that has been built through the uphill climbs of diabetes challenges this year are now being translated into something for someone else that I love, love, love, love, love.  That makes my heart sing & smile big time.  The situation my loved one is going through sucks big time yet the strength that I have for this newly emerging mountain is limitless.  Please don’t get me wrong, I do not pat myself on the back for having these strength reserves.  There is support, encouragement & example from countless people that I have both met and not met that have completed their earthly journey or are still walking me home.  Battle Buddies climb mountains (imagery) together.  God has given me graces to build strength & it is up to me to put in the effort to make the climbs & then help others by sharing compassion & advocating.

Before I was diagnosed with type 1 I really don’t think that I was very passionate about being in an advocating role.  To me advocating kind of meant in your face kind of lobbying. This had not felt natural for me since my nature is one of being a peacemaker.  Peace I have come to learn does not necessarily happen all by itself.  I have come to realize that there are many ways of advocating & once you find your passion for advocating, it is a natural way of just being.  And for each person, we each have our own original way of advocating.  For me, I find myself advocating for the very large part in a gentle way.   We may choose to begin for example to educate our families about type 1 diabetes or other “365” health challenge.  It is not uncommon for people to think that they understand what someone else is going through yet be very far from the reality of the situation in terms of true understanding. 

Do you find that it is pretty natural to want to advocate for someone who is being treated unjustly?  How about if the person that is treated unjustly is a minor?  How about if it is someone in your own family?  There may be times when we choose not to advocate for ourselves yet we find the energy & strength immediately almost like an adrenaline surge when a loved one needs to be advocated for.    That is the situation that I find myself in right now.  Thankfully, the type 1 advocating has been in a lot of ways a practice arena for building upon my skills of stepping in for loved ones when they need someone to get in front of an unjust situation.  Remember I mentioned that I have never seen our sons through rose coloured glasses?  That is true.  They are held accountable for their decisions & behaviours & natural consequences are a natural part of life accordingly.  Also, I realize that as a Mom as much as I would like to put a bubble around their worlds & shield them from hurts & upsets that that is unhealthy for them.  And we can ask ourselves whether we try to fight battles for our children that we have not given them a chance to rectify.  Also, I find myself assessing each situation based on the specifics of the situation.  At least 99% of the time, our sons do not need a “momma bear” to get involved in a situation that they would like to independently handle.  I respect that.  As long as there is no physical or emotional detriment involved with the boys or others when they meet up with challenges with others, I choose to guide them versus step in front of them.  Let’s face it, it is really not going to likely be perceived as a favour by our children if “Momma Bear” steps in when it is not warranted. 

How about the other 1% of the time?  My personal belief is that most of us likely do not advocate all of the time for almost anything in life.  Advocating is perhaps a small portion of our life experience.  We each get to choose the hills to advocate for & discern which ones are better served in silence.  If a person is perceived for example as a “hot head” most of the time then when there is something hugely unjust that very much needs a strong advocator, how credible do you think the person’s efforts will be perceived.  We each answer that question for ourselves.  As of yesterday, I find myself in that 1% of the equation where getting in front of a situation is wise & warranted.  It is a situation where a loved one has been tormented for 8 years at school & the situation has escalated to our loved one been physically assaulted.  The “Momma Bear” in me kicked in easily as you can imagine.  The advocating began in the spirit of “this is not okay” and the adults in charge of the situation are aware that this is the hill that I will climb fully to the top with no loss of strength.  I was profoundly angry with the adults in the situation yesterday.  Do I believe that we should be able to expect our children to be physically safe in environments that are being supervised by professional adults?  How would you answer that question?  Do you share the opinion that we have a whole lot of lip service & words on pages that are being regurgitated out of the mouths of many adults about the seriousness of bullying?  It seems that most of us see the problem however what we don’t see is an action plan for situations where children are literally abusing other children.  Too often we have all seen the headlines of children who have not received help in severe bullying & tormenting situations & the devastating consequences of this.  At times I feel like a bit of a dinosaur when I describe my childhood to our boys.  They have asked about game systems and personal computers & cell phones from my childhood.  “No”, I have told them, “we did not have those things growing up.”  Best of all in my mind though is that we also did not have the dark shadow of some of the personal hand held devices either.  I am referring to the potential for our collective children to bully or abuse one another via cell phones 24 hours a day.  That must be overwhelming to a young person in that situation.  As adults, we each choose when & whether our child will receive a cell phone & rules around the hours & location of cell phones.  It is for our children’s safety that we do this.  In my mind rules are meant to guide our youth in a positive way.  When there are no real rules provided by adults in a given environment, how might this potentially affect our children?  I believe that I am showing love & care when I set guidelines & rules.  They are meant to assist our boys into growing into respectful, compassionate, responsible and caring citizens.  That’s one of my jobs as a Mom.  Would it be easier to not bother?  I think it would because there are few people that I know that want to have arguments.  To enforce rules, there will be arguments or challenges.  The point is too though that to have rules & not have an action plan for enforcing them is pretty absurd.  So that brings me full circle back to the well that we are in as far as anti-bullying goes at least in our province.  Few would argue that there is a problem.  We hear lots of lip service about its importance.  Action plan?  Not nearly much of anything.  Are we failing our children in the way that it truly matters?  This mom thinks so based upon personal experiences.  I look forward to seeing that change.  Will I be hoping for change?  Yes, I will be.  To be passive though about something that has detrimental consequences to the children of our society is unconceivable & not an option.  It is an area that our collective children deserve our passionate avocation until meaningful action is put in place & not merely politically “cya” words polluting our air.  On a positive note, I personally believe that we will see significant advances from our governments in 2014 for meaningful protection of our youth where bullying is severe & evident.  If we expect our children to put their best possible efforts into bringing home the grades that are reflective of their God given abilities then how can we as adults do any less in the arena of avocation for our children? 

So, here is yet another mountain yet there is no option for becoming tired on this climb.  The strength reserves will be needed.  Although type 1 diabetes is as always very unwelcome in life, the strength built while battling this disease are paying off big time on this climb.

My heart’s hope for you is that you always have the strength reserves for any mountain challenge in life that you have. Maybe you will find that you too have built strength through the challenges that you have to conquer daily as a result of type 1 or another 365 health challenge.   And may you always know that we are climbing together.

Smiles, Saundie :)

May the peace & love of Christmas be a gift that you keep with you all year long :)  Next Monday's sharing is all about meeting people that become instant friends & is called, "There You Are My Kindred Spirit!"  :)