Five Things That Are Worth Enduring

by Belinda Munoz on June 14, 2012

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Not long ago, I woke up feeling as though ants were snacking on my throat.

I promptly fired off a few e-mails announcing my uselessness for the day, proclaimed undying love for the hubs and the boy in my most hideous voice, then crashed back to sleep.

Hours later, I awoke starving. A good sign, I thought. My will to live was intact.

I fixed myself a bowl of soup remembering those days of old when I’d spend afternoons watching daytime soaps. I wandered into the TV room, wondering if The Young and the Restless was still on, only to find that I didn’t know how to get the TV to work. Pathetic, I thought of my lukewarm interest in buttons on a remote and my even more tepid attempt to get caught up on a soap.

But then the alternative proved to be much better. I picked up my tablet, curled up in bed, and started reading Alice Walker’s Anything We Love Can Be Saved and Ashley Judd’s All That Is Bitter and Sweet. I can’t get over how cool it is to read library books without having to go to the library!

What seems dreadful at first glance but turns out to be totally worth enduring?

Sick days: They don’t have to mean drag-me-down-to-the-dregs depressing days. The human body, for all its glory and wisdom, is not invincible. It signals its need to repair. I could pretend to be functional or I could surrender to the bug, sip wellness tea while reading awesome women’s memoirs and take restful, recovery naps.

That awkward time when people are strangers: My son is gregarious. Through him, we have met wonderful people who are parents of his friends. It’s easy to forget that friends start out as strangers who become more and more familiar overtime. Some of them are fleeting and casual while others become lifelong friends. Either way, they add joy to our lives.

Transitions: So much of our identity gets wrapped up in what we do, what we call ourselves, how others view us. But sometimes, we stop being one thing, giving way to becoming another. Transition shakes things up and can be a challenging time but it’s such an important bridge between stages. Think of a pregnant woman having all the feelings and worries that a mother has but not being quite a mother yet. Transition may feel like an endurance test but it’s not final. It’s simply a pit stop to a new, reinvented version of ourselves.

Change thrust upon us: Change we initiate is often exciting but change thrust upon us can wound and cause an upheaval. When it’s the latter, it’s difficult at first to see the promise that lies beyond what we can imagine or what we have the grace or will to welcome. But more often than we appreciate, unwelcome change and all its unfamiliarity becomes familiar, its sharp sting turns into a dull ache, until we’re well on our way to healing.

The end of an era: We know that most things have an ending. We also know that most good things — a dream, a great meal, a fun gathering — come to an end eventually. What’s hard to handle is when something good ends prematurely; while we’re still enjoying it. It’s unfortunate when this happens for many reasons: we’re faced with the inevitability of impermanence and our confidence in any sort of a future is shaken. In extreme cases of profound loss, some of us might even be tempted to withdraw from people, avoid events and stop trying new things as a cautionary measure. It’s all understandable as a reaction, but as a way of life, it’s a waste of precious time — and one that doesn’t come without an expiration date. The end of an era can be impossibly painful to endure, but it also signals a beginning, whether or not we can fathom what it will look like, what it can become or what it will bring us.

I still can’t stand being sick but it’s good to know that sick days were created for a reason.

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Is there something potentially good that you may be resisting? If so, why? Is it not worth enduring? If not, why not?
Is there anything you embrace now that you once resisted? If there is, what compels you to embrace it?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 suzicate June 14, 2012 at 5:13 am

I think we are given sick or rainy days for a reason…we relax and do simple things we don’t normally do! Glad you’re feeling better.

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2 Vishnu June 14, 2012 at 5:38 am

I think I can endure most of the things you mention Belinda except for end of an era. It’s so sad and very hard to let go:) a school, a job, an experience…I don’t know where goodbye’s fall into the list but absolutely cannot endure those either. lol I know we can’t say hello until we say goodbye but still don’t like goodbyes.

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3 ayala June 14, 2012 at 6:14 am

Belinda, I am happy to hear that you are feeling better. I hate being sick and I fight it if I can but when I can’t I surrender to bed and good books 🙂 The body needs to restore itself. For a long time I resisted taking care of myself because I wanted to take care of everyone else, but I have stopped resisting. I look healthy so most people are not aware that I am in pain 24/7. I have arthritis. I’ve had it since I was eight years old, at times it’s better at times it’s worse. I have learned to put aside time and take care of myself and go to yoga, and stay active and moving. In the past I would make excuses because I was very busy. Now I have learned that if I don’t take care of myself …I won’t able to take care of my family and be there for them. The last few weeks have been difficult because I have a flare up, but I always tell myself that there are so many people that have it worse and I just keep going.

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4 meg June 15, 2012 at 6:48 am

A very thoughtful list! I’ve had some sick days, and an awful lot of months and years like Ayala’s (in remission now). Have had more transitions than any individual would really want, and ends of eras. Or maybe that’s just what turning 57 is like. Must check with slightly older friends about that 😉

Am going through a bit of transition this summer–maybe. Not quite sure what to call it yet, as it is either a break from routine or the end of something established and the beginning of something new. Either way, it is worth relishing moment by moment. I know this because when I think back to the beginning of other eras, I remember the wonder, the curiosity, and often the excitement as a new door opened from a room of daydreams into a room of reality.

Even a heartbreaking time is the beginning of a New Normal. Life is, indeed, for the living.

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5 Robin June 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Belinda, You make me want to look on the bright side of things and make a little attitude adjustment. I haven’t been thrilled with my recent move, and in the two weeks we have been here, mosquitoes have been feasting on me every time I go outside. I used to spend a lot of time outside in the city. I am not sure about the suburbs. I might be spending more time inside. But the inside here is nice. I have my own space (something I have been missing for the past three years).

I can endure this change that was thrust upon me; but more than just endure it, I can find the silver lining! I’d list all of the things, but that really isn’t necessary. Just thanks for your positive outlook. A good reminder for me right now!

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