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When I Grow Up
How old is a grown up? Could it be that each one of us either has our own definition to that term “grown up” or perhaps the answer is more of a question mark? Do some people ever really grow up? That could be a good or bad thing depending upon how we look at that. Beyond being a grown up though is a place that I can only describe as grace. There is the chronological growing up yet I place more importance on travelling towards grace. Please don’t get me wrong because I am not referring to pinky in the air while sipping tea in fancy dress with ruffles & book on the head kind of grace like out of a chapter of Pride & Prejudice. Instead I am trying my best to get on & stay on a path towards letting spiritual grace work through me for the rest of my life. That is a work in progress since I am willful & feisty in nature & also love to be thinking about & working on many things, ideas & projects at once. To let grace work through me I have found that I have to quiet my mind, thoughts & activities for at least a few minutes each day. That is easier said than done yet so are so many things in life that are truly worth pursuing.
As I sat down to write this week, two writing ideas came immediately to mind: diabetes awareness month & Remembrance Day. Both of them are consistent with the month of somber November. Ultimately, this writing piece I decided would be in conjunction with diabetes awareness to start off the month of November & next week the writing will be about honouring our troops past, present & future. November is just naturally a somber month I find. Do you find this too? The leaves have usually fallen off the deciduous trees in the area & have been cleared away. And it is usually bone chilling outside temperature wise. The visual beauty of nature has a real almost black & white quality about it in November I think.
It would be difficult to forget that November is diabetes awareness month for me. I have my endo. appointment to find out my dreaded A1C results, my follow up appointment at the Diabetes Centre a couple of weeks later, World Diabetes Day on November 14th and my 7 year diaversary on November 29th. There are lots of reminders about diabetes every day yet November is a magnification of reminders. Wow, 7 years has gone by in a blink of an eye. Letting grace work through me with diabetes is also a work in progress. Let’s face it, when we have either ridiculously high or low blood sugars it is beyond difficult to potentially be our best selves. My patience for instance decreases as my blood sugars go beyond 14. And my ability to put a coherent sentence together when I dive under a blood sugar of 3.4 is like a tightrope act on a trampoline. The thing that I detest most of all about living with type 1 diabetes is the too high or too low blood sugars that come along even with profound diligence that mess with my personality. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde come to mind. The change in my personality was the prompter that sent me originally to my doctor to find out what was going on with my health 7 years ago. For sure my vision was brutally blurred yet it was the unexplained personality swap out that freaked me out the most 7 years ago. I love how I feel when I am experiencing the beautiful zone of blood sugars between 5-8 because I am myself totally. My husband shared with me last week that he can tell when my blood sugars are high because I do the Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde thing. He did not refer to it that way…he was more gracious than that. Let’s call a spade a spade though. He notices the personality swap out when my blood sugars fall off the rails in either direction. I really cannot stand it that type 1 has the capacity to mess with my personality. I fight it though big time & most of the time I win through gritted teeth. It is a conflict though. It is the conflict between just letting myself be me but then I have to ask myself what that means. On the one hand I want diabetes to leave my personality alone & let me be the me that I was & am when I have healthy blood sugars. On the other hand, the conflict is with myself because I realize that I need to accept me even on my “bad days.” That does not give me license to not try to rise above the urge to be abrupt with others when I am riding a blood sugar beyond 14. The 14 though is temporary but the physiological needs that I have from a diabetes perspective while fighting the high blood sugars are real. The 14 and up are the ungrown up part of diabetes…what I like to call diabetes having a meltdown. I am not having the meltdown but diabetes does & during that time it is a mini Hell. The other part of it is that after riding the 50 foot wave of high blood sugars for hours or sometimes even days, suddenly out of no where my blood sugars do the limbo & go low, lower, lower, lower & then the coaster ride of up & down & up & down go on for a while. Let’s face it too & that is that all the while, life goes on. We still have places to be & commitments. We have that grin & bear it thing going on. It is physically & emotionally exhausting I find. It does not get any easier with time or new diabetes gadgets. Ok, ok, ok, enough about all of this. How about the grace part of living life with diabetes?
Do you find people inspiring that despite his or her challenges & struggles continues to grow in grace? I sure do! Those are the everyday heroes & they are out there in huge numbers. I love that these everyday heroes living with a struggle embrace life, send out ripples of love & show us courage daily through the way they live their lives. And I love a hero who is brave enough to be honest through it all. For example, I know & love many every day heroes who admit that they are having a difficult day & share what is going on yet are Herculean strong in spirit & love & care for others. They are unapologetically themselves. Remember when we were each in kindergarten & we were asked to bring in an old shirt of our Dad’s to put on over our clothes for painting projects? Well, we are still in need of some type of metaphorical over shirt, not for paint but rather for life because life is messy. It is beautifully messy. Diabetes is messy & we are each beautiful originals living individual beautiful messy lives. The support though through inspirational people in the world living with struggles magnifies the beauty of just how tough & rugged the human spirit is. I am not diabetes & diabetes is not me. And my body is only a small fraction of the person that I am so even when diabetes decides to punish my body, I know my spirit is stronger. And the strength that I have had & do have the honour of witnessing of other Dear Hearts fighting type 1 diabetes is indescribably inspiring.
Part of grace I think too is being the type of person that is not a chameleon in terms of treatment of other people. To me that means that I try not to mold myself into a different type of person when I am with different groups of people. Not everyone is going to like each one of us. That is too bad, disappointing yet reality. Why change or pretend really to be someone else so that others will potentially like us. We are who we are for a reason. Why be a carbon copy of someone else, a faker or a sell out? I have had countless situations where I have been in the company of people who are uncomfortable being around me now that I have type 1diabetes. Here’s my silent response…”get over it.” I am still me only I am now having to do the heavy lifting for my pancreas. And for sure there are times when I need a few minutes to pull myself back together if I have had a low blood sugar or do basic diabetes management. The truth is that some people in my life would be a heck of a lot more comfortable around me if I could just not have diabetes around them. That is pretty ungrown up behaviour & again, I am just not going to pretend one way or the other. I like to just naturally fold my diabetes management into the day so if I need to do a glucose test when I am in public I do not shine a spot light over that however I also do not excuse myself out of some sort of shame & go to a restroom or some other behind doors place.
A few weeks ago our family enjoyed a trip to Ottawa & Montreal together. We like to return to the Ottawa area every couple of years for a few days as my husband is originally from there & the area holds a cherished place in his heart & by extension for our whole family. If you find yourself looking for a hotel to stay at within a short drive of downtown Ottawa, the Hampton Inn is an extra special spot. It is not so much the rooms or facilities that make it extra special but rather one of the ladies who prepares breakfast. Her name is Hilary & she is a lady who allows grace to work through her. She is fully herself & exactly the same way with every single person. We had the beauty of experiencing her warmth & welcome & humour shared with every single guest that came by the breakfast area each morning. She had that incredible & natural way of treating the businessmen, the children, the politicians, and others exactly with the same level of welcome. She made a fuss over absolutely everyone. With her Irish down to earth charm & humour she just has a way of being fully herself in a world where perhaps we don’t see nearly enough of that. And she asked every single person’s name & the next morning remembered every person’s name. That is impressive to me in more ways than one. There was no mini class structure at work in that breakfast area. The children were treated with just as much warmth, welcome & red carpet treatment as the politicians & businessmen & women. And frankly each person was given a proper humourous scolding when they did not know how to make the self serve buffet style waffles in the waffle machine. And she anticipated proper manners with the words please & thank you being the words in huge use. What a bright example of being a person of grace…someone who shared her real self with others warmly.
And I can say with a huge smile that I have some incredible battle buddies who show me daily what letting grace work through them looks like. These shining lights bravely fight the uphill battle that frankly is type 1 every minute of the day yet are fully themselves & are always offering encouragement to one another. So whatever the age is that is the answer to the question of how old is a grown up, the answer to me is not really that important. To me, I would rather look to the every day heroes fighting daily struggles fully themselves & fully encouraging others. That to me is the presence of grace.
Smiles, Saundie :D
Oh man, I just got back from receiving my A1C results & sustained a mini defeat in that even with the unbelievable work that I put into diabetes management over this past 4 months my A1C went up. Okay, I will just feel the feelings that go along with that however I will dust myself off very shortly again & fight this beast of type 1 & pray for the cure for you & for me. Next Monday’s sharing is in profound honour to all our troops…past, present, and future. And in the meantime, may grace work through you & may you allow yourself to be unapologetically, beautiful original you :)