Ernest Hemingway defined courage as “grace under pressure.” That came to mind today, as I read Big Life Lessons in my friend Susan Spritz-Myers blog. Susan’s husband was diagnosed with melanoma on the same day her mother died. And, just this past week her dad died too. Big Life Lessons, indeed.
What I’ve been so wowed by, watching these dear friends maneuver some of life’s most challenging lessons, is their wisdom, depth and kindness (to one another, themselves and the rest of us as well).
Susan and I were talking today about our shared belief that we are here (embodied, on earth) to learn specific soul-lessons. So often when the lessons involve suffering and hardship and loss we want to push them away. “Why me?” or “woe is me” or “This sucks!” – we flail and fight. I think that’s pretty natural.
But hopefully, if we’re lucky and we’ve “done our work”, we then turn to “how do I best manuever this?” and “what is the lesson here for me?” and “how can I be more loving – to myself and to those I love.”
Susan reported that her father was ready to go. That his passing was a blessing for him and for his children. She told me how glad she was to have spent all the time with him over these past few years.
She talked about how much she and Alan have both grown with his diagnosis – about the blessings that have come about due to his melanoma (which, thankfully is in remission – we believe it is gone).
I think that part about practicing loving-kindness to one’s self, to other’s and even giving a bow to life itself – makes difficult situations better. We don’t get to pick how our lessons will be presented. But we DO get to pick if we will be graceful under pressure and do all we can to find meaning and hidden blessings – even amidst devastation.
I am awed by my friends’ courage. Today I choose to use their example to look for ways to be more fully present. And to be kind.