As each year passes, it seems like this day would have less significance. Somehow though, even 8 years later, the pain I feel from my life being turned upside down by a stroke is still crippling at times. It was the day after my 37th birthday, and it was a very average day. Like so many life-altering events, it came out of nowhere. I suddenly went from having the mind and body of a healthy 37 year old to having blurred vision, dizziness, vertigo, and unsteadiness when walking.
I struggle every single day. Some days I get tired of being me because it’s so hard. I can’t think straight, can’t get the words in my head to come out of my mouth the right way, and can’t see very well up close or far away. I lose everything...my phone, my glasses, my debit card, my purse! Walking is a challenge. Driving is a challenge. Standing up straight is a challenge. Even with all of this, I know my situation pales in comparison to the hardships so many people face. I keep on telling my story, though, because chronic illness is a beast. I hope and pray at least a little bit of my rambling encourages other people to hang on even if their fingertips are bruised from the tight grip they have to continually hold. I have bruised fingertips too!
It’s days like today and yesterday that give me the strength and courage to keep telling my story and keep holding on. I am beyond blessed with the most amazing family and friends! I can’t even describe how loved I feel! The “happy birthday” text messages, Facebook posts, cards, and phone calls were beyond belief! I got two flower deliveries this week, gifts in the mail, e-gifts, and gifts brought to my house. I do not deserve ANY of it which makes me all the more thankful for each and every kind word and gesture.
Then tonight was the perfect culmination to an amazing birthday celebration. My best friend and her family met us for dinner halfway between our two locations in Kentucky. The last time I saw her was in January of 2020...way too long to go without seeing your BFF! It was exciting to introduce Hannah’s boyfriend to them, and we had the pleasure of meeting her daughters’ boyfriends.
As we went around the dinner table telling a little about ourselves, I couldn’t get through my introduction without crying. Like I mentioned, the pain of all I’ve lost hits me so hard at times. In an effort to redeem myself from crying like a baby, I said, “I try really hard to find the silver lining in everything I face.” The more I think about that statement, the more I realize I misspoke. I don’t actually have to try very hard at all to find the silver lining because I am surrounded by rays of sunshine everywhere I look.
While doing a quick internet search to discover if clouds really do have silver linings, I came across an interesting fact. “Silver linings are observed around thicker clouds containing larger droplets.” Maybe, just maybe, the clouds aren’t the problem at all. Maybe quite the opposite is true. Perhaps the clouds are all the amazing friends and family who filter out the harmful rays allowing us to see only the most beautiful ones. I think this has to be the truth in my case because my blessings far outweigh my burdens. My favorite song by Laura Story comes to mind. “What if your blessings come through raindrops?”
I think that’s enough idioms and analogies for one post! My head is starting to hurt from all this deep thinking. 🤪 The truth of the matter is this...we all get exposed to harmful sun rays, get stuck in storms, and get caught in downpours. I’m sure if you are like me, with some personal reflection and redirection of your thoughts, you will see your silver linings too. Whether your current situation is rain or shine, don’t ever stop looking for the beauty in the clouds, in the sun rays, in the water droplets, and even in the storms.
I feel like I can’t wrap up this post without saying the following: I know not everyone has a support system as strong as mine. Some people truly do have to look harder to find their silver linings than others, and that is the ultimate motivation for sharing my story. My faith in God is the primary filter through which I attempt to view my life and my situation. Without it, all the hurt I still feel wouldn’t just be crippling at times...it would have completely paralyzed me by now. If you are struggling, hurting, and feeling completely hopeless, I promise there is hope. Reach out to me. I will help you if I can, or I will share some of my sun rays with you, because I am sure they will brighten up your life just like they have mine.